tv U.S. Senate U.S. Senate CSPAN March 25, 2020 11:59am-4:00pm EDT
michelle? andrew mcgregor. >> thank you. you mentioned beds, ventilators and ppes. is that an upward projection? and top-of-the-line numbers in a timeframe. >> we are working on projections updated daily based on what we are seeing on a daily basis here. right now we are looking -- >> we are going to leave this
coronavirus briefing with vermont governor phil scott to keep long-term commitment to coverage of the us senate. you can watch the remainder of this briefing on c-span.org. senate lawmakers are completing work on the third coronavirus economics to me was plan, final vote on the bill is expected today. now live coverage of the u.s. senate on c-span2. the president pro tempore: the senate will come to order. the chaplain, dr. barry black, will lead the senate in prayer. the chaplain: let us pray.
o god, our father, we lift up our hearts in prayer because we trust in you. lord, we know well the weakness and the insecurity of our hold upon this life. comfort those who have lost loved ones during this global health crisis. when we wrestle with sad memories of mortal loss, give us all the glorious hope of life eternal. lord, provide our lawmakers with the confidence that your all-sufficient grace and power will enable them
to become more than conquerors during this time of trouble. remind them that no one who trusts in you will ultimately be disgraced. mighty god, our forebears trusted in you and you delivered them. be not far from us, for you are the source of our hope. we pray in your great name, amen. the president pro tempore: please follow me in the pledge of allegiance. i pledge allegiance to the flag of the united states of america, and to the republic
for which it stands, one nation under god, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all. the presiding officer: the senator from iowa. mr. grassley: i ask to speak for one minute in morning business. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. grassley: as chairman of the finance committee and head of the task force, i want to highlight a few areas of bipartisan economic relief we will be voting on today. recovery checks to give americans needed cash to provide for their families and get through our current health crisis look like this. $1,200 for individuals, $2,400 for married couples, $500 for
each child. there's no minimum, no phase-in. it starts out at the lowest level. anyone with a social security number who is not dependent on anyone else should be eligible for a check under the income caps. we also have a very strong unemployment compensation additions to the present program in this bill. we also have incentives to help charities because they play a very important role in this recovery. my colleagues across the aisle said last week that the business tax issues were corporate bailouts. that couldn't be further from the truth. i think my democratic colleagues now agree. this is about helping our workers keep their jobs, our economic relief package to recover this economy has provisions to help businesses so that they have the cash to keep the doors open and keep making
mr. mcconnell: mr. president. the presiding officer: the majority leader of the senate. mr. mcconnell: it's only been 65 days since the first american tested positive with the new coronavirus on our soil, and barely -- and in barely two months, this pandemic has upended our nation. as of this morning, more than 175 million americans have been advised to remain in their homes. more than half of our people are effectively sheltering in place. hospitals in major cities are pushing capacity. doctors and nurses are exlawsing crucial supplies. -- are exhausting crucial supplies. and if that were not enough for americans to fight to stay
healthy, they're also fighting to keep their paychecks, to keep supporting their families. combating this disease has forced our country to put huge parts of our national life on pause and triggered layoffs at a breath-taking pace. this strange new reality has forced our nation on to something like war-time footing. a fight has arrived on our shores. we did not seek it, we did not want it, but now we're going to win it. ten days ago, i laid out four urgent priorities for new senate legislation to help our nation through this crisis. we had to get direct, direct financial assistance to the american people. we had to get historic aid to small businesses to keep paychecks flowing, stabilize key industries to be prevent mass
layoffs, and of course flood more resources into the frontline health care battle itself. one week ago, senate republicans laid down an initial proposal that tackled each, each of these emergency missions. our members put forward bold plans to send cash to households, stand up historic emergency loans for main street, stabilize key sectors, and put the full might of congress behind our doctors, nurses, hospitals, health care providers, and the race for treatments and vaccines. i couldn't be prouder, mr. president, of our colleagues. our nation needed us to go big and go fast, and they did. the creative policies our chairman crafted in just a couple of days' time remain the
central building blocks of the proposal we will pass today. but republicans knew the nation had no time, no time for conventional political gamesmanship, so the instant we released our first draft, i created a series of bipartisan working groups, i asked republicans and democrats to work together around the clock, literally around the clock to make the bill even better. by sunday, we had an updated proposal that was even stronger and contained even more ideas literally from both sides, both sides. republicans and democrats had worked together to dramatically strengthen and rework unemployment insurance during this crisis. we had worked together to make sure lower income families could receive the full cash assistance , and on and on. mr. president, i will leave it
to others to compare the bipartisan sunday bill to the final version we will pass today and determine whether the last few changes really required or merited three days of delay. three days of delay. in the face of this worsening crisis. but that washington drama does not matter any more. the senate is going to stand together, act together, and pass this historic relief package today. struggling americans are going to go to their mailboxes and find four-figure checks to help with their bills. why? because the senate stepped up. many american families who have poured everything into a restaurant or a shop or a small
manufacturer are going to keep making payroll and keep their businesses alive because this senate stepped up. hundreds of thousands of workers in key sectors who might well have been laid off through no fault of their own will instead get to keep their job and continue their career because this senate stepped up. and for the health care heroes who leave their own sleeping children and drive to the hospital for an all-night shift, who spend hour after hour healing the sick, comforting strangers, and literally battling this disease, there will be more masks in their supply closets, more funding for their hospitals, and soon more new treatments to administer to their patients. because this senate stepped up.
so today, mr. president, the senate will act to help the people of this country weather this storm. nobody thinks legislation can end this. we cannot outlaw the virus. and no economic policy could fully end the hardship so long as the public health requires that we put so much of our nation's commerce on ice. this is not even a stimulus package. it is emergency relief. emergency relief, that's what this is. no, this fight is not going to be won or lost in washington. it's the american people who will beat this virus. americans will keep making sacrifices to slow down the spread. americans will keep pitching in and looking after each other.
americans will keep finding creative ways to stand united, even if they have to stand six feet apart. we will win this fight because of people like amy jean tyler, a stay-at-home mom in kentucky who is leading a drive to sew cotton masks for a local children's hospital. we'll win this fight because of people like grant hasty in sterns, kentucky, who has gathered volunteers to distribute more than 550 home-cooked meals. we will win this fight because of people like peg hayes who runs a distillery in christian county, kentucky, and is temporarily converting her bourbon-making facility to churn hand sanitizer. we'll win this fight because national companies are switching production lines to make medical
supplies, because our largest high-tech companies are partnering with the government to throw supercomputing power right into the race to provide vaccines. we'll win this fight because of families, neighbors, and church communities that cannot even worship together in person, because of small businesses, big businesses, public health, ph.d.'s, and local entrepreneurs. it's been 18 years since every american was united in amazement and prayer as firefighters and first responders rushed into burning buildings on september 11, 2001. in the coming days and weeks, our nation is going to meet new heroes. many may be police, firefighters, and e.m.t.'s once again. many others will be truck drivers, grocery store clerks, and pharmacists who literally
keep our supply chains running. utility workers and delivery drivers who leave their homes so everyone else can remain in theirs. teachers who somehow manage to keep educating their students over the internet while looking after their own kids at the very same time. and most of all, we're going to meet a whole lot of american heroes who wear scrubs and masks and gloves. heroes who rush toward the sick and wash their hands until they bleed and work around the clock to heal our friends and our families. when our nation comes through this and takes fight, when our nation comes through this and takes flight again on the other side, it will be because american heroes won this fight. all the senate can do is to give them the resources to do it and
mr. durbin: mr. president. the presiding officer: the senator from illinois. mr. durbin: you have an announcement? the presiding officer: the senate is in a quorum call. mr. durbin: i ask the quorum call be vitiated. the presiding officer: the leadership time is reserved. morning business is closed. the senate will resume consideration of the motion to proceed to h.r. 748 which the clerk will report. the clerk: motion to proceed to h.r. 748, an act to amend the internal revenue code of 1986 to repeal the excise tax on high-cost employer-sponsored health coverage. mr. durbin: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from illinois. mr. durbin: mr. president,
america has never seen anything like this before. to think that half of the people who live in the united states are under some order to either stay home or at least avoid contact with others, unheard of. this is an enemy, this virus, the likes of which we've never faced as strong and determined our nation is when it comes to these challenges, this is uniq unique. and it calls for unique leadership. there are a lot of critics of the united states congress for good reason, but i think what we've demonstrated in the last several weeks since we've addressed this coronavirus is that there is a capacity for commonsense bipartisan work and a timeliness that is essential. first two measures were passed in record time, one for $8 billion that really opened the door for more medical resources.
the second for $100 billion which tried to guarantee to people they would never have to pay to be tested for coronavirus, that there would be adequate food supplies during this calamitous time, that we would have resources sent to the states for medicaid reimbursement at new levels, that we would also engage people with family leave if necessary so that they could stay out of the workplace if they felt badly, and that we'd also have an idea that we would come together as a nation to move unemployment insurance with dispatch. that passed again in a timely way with a bipartisan vote. and then we came to the third challenge, a challenge the likes of which i've never seen in my time in congress and i don't imagine anyone else has. because we decided in a span of about seven days to come up with a package of authorizations and
appropriations which is larger than the annual federal budget for domestic discretionary spending in america. in seven days we did what usually takes 12 months or longer, but we knew we had to because the need is that great. and america was watching and wondering if we could rise to that challenge. there was some bumps in the road and it's no surprise. an undertaking of that magnitude with this kind of pressure to get the job done quickly and properly is bound to create differences of opinion and it did. there were moments of anxiety on the floor of the senate and those who have followed c-span have watched many speeches that reflected the emotional levels that were reached in this chamber. but the emotions in this chamber were not that different than the emotions in most homes across america as people worry about whether this illness will touch
their families and if so, will they be able to conquer it. that emotion on the senate floor led us to further negotiations in an effort to try to make a bill presented to us on sunday better three days later. and that brings us to this moment. history will judge as the senator from kentucky noted earlier as to whether there's an improvement that's been made to this bill over the last 72 hours. i'll just stand up and tell you i would testify definitely, definitely because just consider the first priority. we have to make sure that hospitals and clinics and health care providers at every level in america are proposed to rise to this -- are prepared to rise to this challenge, and we know this is a challenge the likes of which we've never seen. when the governor of new york suggests that the hospitals of that great state expand their
capacity by 50% as quickly as possible to take the incoming patients from this covid-19 virus and be prepared, he said, to expand it by 100%, we appreciate the magnitude of the challenge. on the democratic side our leader senator schumer has called it a marshall plan for hospitals and health care. i don't think that's an exaggeration. the bill that was presented to us on sunday envisioned some $75 billion for that purpose and many of us felt that was not adequate as large as that number may be. so today we'll bring a bill to the floor that will increase that allocation for health care from the $75 billion in the bill just three days ago to $130 billion. is it enough? probably not unless god spares us from the spread of this disease even further in the
united states. but it says to those who are anxiously expanding their resources, expanding the number of beds, bringing in retired medical personnel as the governor from illinois j.p. pritzker is doing, that we hear them and we're providing them the resources to go to work to fight this challenge that we face at every corner of the united states. the second thing we set out to do when the bill was presented sunday was to expand the opportunity for unemployment insurance. some have criticized on the floor and said don't get into structural changes. well, you couldn't expand unemployment insurance without getting into a structural change because the system which affects only a small percentage of americans is not adequate in most cases to keep a family together. if you lose your job and try to live on take unemployment check -- on that unemployment check, it's hard to do.
people lose their homes over that, their cars. they can't pay their utility bills. and so what we've done, it's been described as putting unemployment benefits on steroids. the amount of money which is going to be sent to families who are furloughed, laid off, or unemployed is dramatically bigger than it would have been if we hadn't restructured unemployment compensation. at the same time, the president and white house suggested direct cash payments. we never argued against those, but said it's just a downpayment. it's just a single check. we believe unemployment insurance is going to be a guarantee of payments for months to come. since sunday we expanded the period of additional unemployment compensation from three months to four months. there's a big price on that, of course, but we think it's reasonable to give people peace of mind that for four months they'll be able to keep their families together as we work our way through these medical challenges and god willing see
our economy back on its feet. i hope that happens. i hope it's even sooner. but we're prepared for four months. the third thing we set out to do is one that's near and dear to my in my state and i bet in most other states, we set out to compensate the states and some localities, counties, and cities which are expending substantial sums of money because of covid-19 threats that they are facing. let's face it, for the most part, our governors have been in the front line of defense when it comes to america's health care over the last several weeks. they've done exceptional things and they've been called on to spend money in ways that they never dreamed they would be called on to spend. for example, unemployment benefits, which involve state payments in many respects have mushroomed and skyrocketed, sometimes ten times the numbers that they were just last year at the same time. my governor and others, mayors
and the leaders of county government have come forward and said, are you going to help us? we're spending a lot of money because of this covid-19. well, this bill does it. it was not an easy task. we had to convince the other side that it was money well spent, and i'm happy to report that on a bipartisan basis we reached that agreement, some $150 million will be going to these state and local governments, as it should. those are things that i believe will move us down the path to resolving this challenge in america and doing it in a proper way, always keeping in mind that the welfare of workers and their families is the paramount concern. first the investment in the medical side to stop the onslaught, second the support for families and workers across america. in were some items that are still be debated on the floor here. you heard it in the early statements by the majority
leader, and those relate to the benefits to be given to businesses to keep them moving forward. we all understand the aviation industry is at the heart of the american economy. it is an engine in one respect to move it and a reflection of its activity in another respect, and that aviation industry is flat on its back. some 80% to 90% of the passenger load has disappeared, hundreds of thousands of employees in the airline industry has come to us and asked for help, and we're prepared to do that and that is part of the package that will come before us. the administration also asked for resources to be loaned to other businesses that need a helping hand. i'm not opposed to that. some are, but i'm not. but can i do believe a account ability and transparency are essential. since sunday, we have dramatically changed this package so that there will be transparency and accountability on a timely basis as decisions
are made by this administration to allocate these taxpayer funds to help these companies. some of us learned a bitter lesson in the past when benefits were given to corporations and they were misused for stock buybacks and dividends and profiteering at a time of great national need. we don't want to repeat that story. we want to make certain that taxpayer dollars invested in these corporations are really designed to get them back on their feet and the economy moving forward on the benefit of everyone who lives in this country. that kind of transparency and accountability is essential. i believe this new agreement some three days after the original one was proposed is improvement. credit should be given to both sides because democrats and republicans had to agree for this to make the final package. but we agree we will vote on this afternoon and i believe we
will enjoy strong bipartisan support from the senate is a dramatic improvement in the last 72 hours. credit to both sides. we believed some of these ideas were essential and that's why we voted like we did on the floor but to reach agreement, it took both sides. i want to salute my colleagues, starting with the democratic leader, senator schumer. he put in some hours. i can't tell you how many times i stepped in his office and his secretary told me he was meeting with secretary mnuchin. they started from midnight until fresh in the morning to reach an agreement. i think we're finally done. there's a few little agreements. so senator schumer and his staff, and to all my colleagues, ranking members who pitched in this their committees of jurisdiction to come up with good ideas and to sell them in a bipartisan agreement. it was an exceptional amount of
work. special credit to my staff my own and the others who have come to work in this dangerous moment. we've been told to stay home, telework where you can. in some cases you can't. those who did show up to the capitol, including the staff on the floosh, come at -- floor, come at risk, risk to their own health and family members and others. i thank them for this it i understand we may be gone for several weeks, and i think that is appropriate, but for a national emergency which calls us back, and we will come back if that is necessary, i think we should take time away from one another, away from the capitol to mind our own health and the well-being of our own families and work back home best we can, teleconferencing and other ways to let people know what we've done with this legislation.
i hope i can engage my colleagues in thinking about another issue. senator portman, republican from ohio, have introduced legislation calling for at least an inquiry at this moment in history about remote voting or some different approach to voting that doesn't require our reporting to the floor in times of national emergency. it just makes sense. our meetings at the senate almost every single day have violated c.d.c. guidelines that tell us not to gather in a group of ten or more. and, yet, we come to the floor because we have to because this is life or death when it comes to this legislation that we're considering and we know what our jobs are. we can find a better way to do this in the 21st century using the technology that is -- is available in so many different ways to have verifiable, accurate, honest voting for those who cannot or should not physically be present on the floor. i've spoken to elizabeth
mcdonough, the parliamentarian of the senate and her staff and want to engage in a conversation. what we know is this is historic, and it really is a dramatic change from when we've done in the past. i don't think it's unrealistic. i think it reflects the reality of where we are today with a public health crisis, it could reflect what we deal with tomorrow if we can deal with a national emergency or god forbid terrorist activity that keeps us from this building when we still have work to do. i want to thank senator portman, senator klobachar, who has been one of the leaders in this effort, senator schatz, who is a cosponsor. we are up to 20 cosponsors on a bipartisan basis in this movement to change the senate rules. i hope we can have conference calls during the time we're physically away from the capitol and move this business forward.
the house is considering the same thing as well. now is the time to do it. it is time to bring this great body, the united states senate into the 21st century when it comes to executing our constitutional responsibility without endangering anyone, especially members of the staff and their family. mr. president, i yield the floor. the presiding officer: the senator from wyoming. mr. barrasso: mr. president, for families, if for health care workers, for small businesses, people who are waking up today all across the country are asking what's next? i believe today we can report, there is good news. the resolve and determination of this senate, working in a bipartisan way, and working with the white house, have delivered a rescue plan, a rescue plan for the american people and for american health care workers. today we are going to pass new authorities, new resources and new programs to deal with two crisis that we, as a nation are
facing. one is the medical crisis, the coronavirus, and the other is the economic crisis that is a result -- a direct result of the medical crisis that we are facing. the senate is providing an overwhelming and a massive health care and economic response package. we're doing both. and we have to do both at the same time. it's a rescue operation. the resources that our health care providers need and the resources that are our economy needs. the health care resources are going to be surging for communities all around the country, every one of the 50 states is affected. over $100 billion for our hospitals and for the heroes who are taking care of coronavirus patients. mr. president, as you know, i'm a physician, practiced medicine for a long time in wyoming. people go into medicine so that they can do a number of things. you go into medicine and what we expect of our health care
providers is to save lives, to cure the particular, and to prevent disease. for all of those men and women working in this profession, i will tell you this will be their finest hour. we're hearing about heroes all over the country and that is going to continue as long as this crisis is in effect. because that's what we're asking them to do every day, save lives, heal the sick, and prevent disease. we see that with our public health office hoarse are trying to prevent disease, we see it in the communities, people trying to heal the sick and to save the lives in the hospitals day and night. and what they are asking for us are resources and that is now going to be provided in the bill that we're going to pass today and will hopefully soon be on the president's desk. so we're also surging dollars to individuals and to families and to businesses and distressed parts of our economy. direct money to -- $1,200 per
individual, $500 per child. you take a look at that and $350 billion in bridge loans and grants to small- and medium-sized businesses. unemployment insurance to make workers -- you know, we're talking about people who are working and ready to go to work the next day that weren't able to because of the medical crisis affecting us. so workers who weren't able to work right now to make sure they are made whole. now, we have held the line against so many of the ideological issues that democrats, and specifically the speaker of the house tried to put into this legislation. we made it clear, lives are at stake. those are debates for another day. the crisis is upon us and the rescue work needs to be done. i believe time was wasted. time -- we should have passed this last sunday. time was wasted and it's time that was wasted that the american people don't have. didn't have. but today we are working on this
action plan. pass the senate bill today to surge health care resources to the front lines. the house cannot delay. mr. president, the house needs to get this passed today and sent to the president of the united states for his significant today. america should not wake up tomorrow and have to watch and wait and worry to see if the house was going to pass this bill. the house needs to vote. the american people need that assurance today. american families, everyone, have -- people are doing it all around the country. people are going to continue to ramp up manufacturing of medical
equipment, mafntion, ventilators, recipients, tests to save lives. people will cut red tape for treatment and vaccines. going forward, and i see the minority leader on the floor, going forward we need to take a long, hard look at our supply chain. china has been exposed. we cannot allow ourselves ever again to be in any way dependent on china for medicines, for materials, or -- my focus, along with the president's focus is to bring america back stronger than ever before. we are a strong and resilient nation. we will get through this. our country's health care infrastructure and our economic resolve is today being tested. we will defeat the virus and we will be back stronger than ever. thank you, mr. president, and i yield the floor.
a senator: mr. president. the presiding officer: the senator from washington. ms. cantwell: mr. president, i come to the floor to thank my colleagues for all their hard work on this legislation and to urge my colleagues to move forward today because the state of washington desperately needs this help. when i think about this package that literally has been crafted since saturday about 10:00 and people running to collaborate and there were many challenges to that collaboration. i also think of the people on the front line in the state of washington who have paid such a heavy price. from the factory worker we just lost in everett, washington, to the grocerier who was trying to
deliver groceries to the public, to a pathologist who was a leader in this field but also lost his life, real sacrifice and real crushing blows have been dealt in this december. but today we are responding with more help from our state. we are giving them more money for hospitals, more money for the front line with protective gear, more money for testing, and more money to support them as they continue the effort to try to stop this disease. it's so important that we give state and local governments and tribes the resources they need to be on the front lines in fighting this disease, and i thank our governor, governor inslee, for leading that charge every single day in trying to focus our response on this disease. because we were the site of the first covid-19 case, we have been at this since january 21. and the sadness that we have all
felt over the kirkland nursing home where we lost so many patients we hope will be a lesson for the rest of the nation to pay attention to the seriousness of this virus. we're here today, though, to also besides giving that fraughtline support -- that frontline support to states, to cities, to counties, and to other health care delivery system, we're also here to say we want to try to lessen the economic impacts of a shelter in place or social distancing. our businesses, small businesses have been hit hard. our restaurants, our other businesses who shut down who don't have the same resources to come to washington, d.c. and to lobby for aid and support but are counting on us to create a program that small businesses can get both grants and loans so the $360 billion in this program
i hope s.b.a. will help dispatch with urgency to those businesses who have complied and have done their best to keep their employees while also shutting down their business. we also know that the unemployment benefits in this package which will be for four months will be a boost to giving people who are unemployed and the expansion of that definition to cover those who are part of a gig economy that may not have been covered in the past is important to give people the safety neat to make it through this process. i wish we would have come to terms on even allowing for cobra enhancements, particularly for the aerospace sector. i'll be filing a bill today to make sure that as we continue to move through this crisis, that we think about those who are going to have a shift -- or laid off as we have seen in recent days in everett, washington, that they, too, could have health care beyond just one
month of a cobra health plan. it's so important in fighting this disease that not only we take care of unemployment benefits but we also make sure people in unemployment have access to health care. we can't be in the midst of a pandemic and not give people affordable access to health care. i also thank my colleagues for other provisions of this package that are helping in giving individual taxpayers relief in the sense of a rebate check. not only will individuals get a rebate check but families a rebate check of $2,400 that should help those who have been hit hardest by this disease to help in these sustaining days in which we are sheltering in place in the state of washington. there are so many more things that we need to do, and while i support the elements of supporting the aviation industry in this package, i wish that we
would have gotten more requirements on the airline industries for the grant section of this bill. i personally believe that in the future in a healthier airline industry they should pay money back to the federal government. we certainly should be protecting the workforce during this time period, and that is what is most important, to make sure that an airline doesn't take money from the federal government or go into bankruptcy and shortchange the workers and the workforce as has been done in previous packages to them. i fully support, though, the loan guarantee program and the loan guarantees that are so important and so qualified in this package to have very specific requirements to them. i also want to thank my colleagues from the banking committee who worked hard on provisions in this legislation to make sure there was more transparency in the process for
who got access to the grants -- i'm sorry, to the loans in this package. while we think of the processes we've been through before on tarp and the processes we've been through before on other lending, our colleagues here on this side of the aisle made sure that there were better requirements for oversight, inspector generals' accounting of the resources, and to make sure we knew exactly where these dollars were being spent. i know treasury will have its hands full, but because of democrats we will have more transparency in exactly how those dollars go out the door. so, mr. president, i want to thank leader schumer and his staff for working so diligently on this package. it has been a very hectic couple of days. and i would say a special thanks to the commerce committee staff, to david strickland, melissa porter, david martin, ron altman
who literally have been camped out for probably since last saturday working and perfecting the language in these sections related to aviation. as i said, there's more work to do, and we all know there's more work to do. i know that i want to continue to fight for the aviation supply chain to make sure that when we come out of this crisis after an economic downturn around the globe, that the united states is well positioned to return the supply chain workforce to building one of america's best products, airplanes, one of america's greatest -- actually america's single largest exports, airplanes. but to do that we're going to have to get through this crisis and protect what we think needs to be continued health care access to those laid off workers. so let's get these dollars to the front line, to our
hospitals, to our states for better equipment, for more supplies. let's support them in doing what they do best, helping to fight this disease and seeing this through to the other side of america's challenge. i thank the president and i yield the floor. mr. schumer: mr. president? the presiding officer: the minority leader. mr. schumer: first let me tank the senator from washington for her hard and diligent work. no one -- no one fought harder for the state of washington which like my state of new york is in such crisis than the two senators from washington, and i thank senator cantwell for her great work up and down the line, whether it was the government, the companies, the people of washington state, she was there. now, mr. president, i say to the american people, help is on the way, big help, quick help. i say to the american people because democrats insisted on
making this bill better, we can now call it a bill that puts workers first, not corporations, that has a marshall plan for hospitals, and that has accountability, transparency, and watchdogs over much of the lending that is in this bill. now, six days of subtle diplomacy and here in these mostly now empty corridors we've shaped a bipartisan agreement on the largest rescue package in american history, which was sealed last night a few minutes after 1:00 in the morning when leader mcconnell and i came to the floor to announce we had an agreement. it was not a moment of celebration but rather one of necessity. facing an unprecedented crisis, it was the duty of the senate to produce bipartisan legislation to send an immediate infusion of resources to our public health systems, state and local
governments, small business and american workers. as i said, from the start democrats had two main goals, a marshall plan for public health workers and hospitals on the front line and putting workers first, not corporations. had we not asked for the republican party to recognize us by not going forward on those first two votes, this bill would have been much worse. our actions made it much better. not everything we wanted but much, much better. and we're proud as a caucus and united as a caucus of the job we have done to improve this legislation. because after all, this legislation will be with us not for days and not for weeks, not even for months but probably for years to improv im-- for years. to improve this legislation was worth taking an extra day or two, after the republican leader put it down without consulting us and tried to say take it or
leave it. now, like all compromise, this bill is far from perfect, but we believe the legislation has improved sufficiently to warrant its quick consideration and passage. because many democrats and republicans were willing to do the serious and hard work, the bill is much better than when we started and starting yesterday morning we all came together to get this bill done. we worked in a bipartisan way as this body should have worked and should work, and here we are. once the language is ready, democrats are ready to speed up the consideration of the bill as much as possible. we believe that the legislation has been improved sufficiently to warrant its quick consideration and passage. i expect the senate can get the job done in the new few hours. now, the american people watching should know what is in this bill which has undergone
many revisions over the past 48 hours. many of the programs and funding authorities that are being finalized as we speak will go to them directly, the american people and could make the difference in the next few months between putting food on the table and going hungry, between surviving this period of unemployment and financial ruin. so let me briefly run through the major components of the bill. first, as i mentioned, a marshall plan for the american medical system is now under way. this agreement will inject $150 billion into our hospitals and health system, headlined by a new hundred billion fund to provide our health system with whatever it needs to fight back. the grants in that fund will be available to everyone who is fighting coronavirus. hospitals, nursing homes, community health centers and all types of medicaid providers and safety net providers. it includes funding for personal protective equipment, testing
supplies, a surge in our health care workforce, additional medicare funding, research into coronavirus treatments and more. the funding will literally act as a lifeline as the number of covid-19 cases continues to climb. so as i said, a marshall plan for american medical system is now under way. second, workers first. millions of workers through no fault of their own are losing paychecks with no way to cover their daily expenses and monthly bills. coming to their rescue is a program democrats devised to boost unemployment insurance. we call it unemployment insurance on steroids. the agreement increases the maximum unemployment benefit by $600 per week and ensures that laid off workers on average will receive their full pay for four months. these benefits will be much easier to access and will be expanded to include part-time,
self-employed, freelancers, and gig economy workers. and the new program has a second -- the first job of this program, get money into the pockets of people who are losing their jobs through no fault of their own, and it will come quickly and generously. but it has a second purpose. it will also allow companies to furlough workers so they can stay on as employees, so that when god willing this crisis abates, they can quickly resume work with their employer and businesses can resemble. when this -- reassem balance. when this crisis is over, we don't want every worker losing their job to scatter to the winds and so many good businesses through no fault of their own will fall apart. by keeping them on furlough, paying them, the businesses can reassemble quickly. this proposal, unemployment insurance on steroid, will be the greatest expansion of unemployment benefits in decades. a social safety net wide enough to catch the millions of
american workers who became unemployed virtually overnight, woven with fiber strong enough to hold them through the worst of this crisis. as i said, we're going to pass unemployment insurance on steroids. third, oversight, transparency, and accountability of all loans made to corporations. the republican bill initially put the focus on rescuing industry and did not do enough to protect the hundreds -- hundreds upon hundreds of thousands of workers those industries employ. but as a result of our negotiations, democrats have secured crucial worker protections throughout the bill as conditions to rescuing large companies, including incentives for businesses to keep workers on the payroll during the crisis. for the nearly two million airline employees, democrats have also secured direct payroll payments to keep you on the job. your collective bargaining rights will be protected and airlines will not be allowed to
spend any grant money on stock buybacks or c.e.o. bonus pay for the life of the grant plus one year. democrats also secured tough new requirements on federal grants and loans to any industry. no stock buybacks for the length of any loan provided by the treasury plus one additional year. restrictions on any increases to executive compensation. a requirement to protect collective bargaining agreements. democrats secured a prohibition on any trump organization business or any business controlled by any other government leaders from receiving a loan from this bill. we compelled the creation of treasury department special inspector general to provide oversight of treasury loans and investments. an accountability committee to protect taxpayer dollars. and a congressional oversight commission as well. and there will be much-needed transparency in these requirements as well. the treasury secretary must by
law make public quickly the names and terms of loans or other assistance to corporate borrowers. i believe it was justice brandeis said sun light is the great disinfectant. if any of these loans look untoward, if any of these loans don't look right, the public, the congress will know quickly and that will put pressure on the treasury secretary not to do them and certainly not to repeat them. fourth, resources of state, local, and tribal governments who are carrying the weight of their overburdened health networks on their budgets is there. this came down to the wire. our republican friends didn't want to do it, but i'm glad they acceded to our wishes here, because local governments are hurting. they are spending more money than they have ever spent, and at the same time their tax revenues have declined.
and so we must help our local governments, and we will in this legislation, and it will be distributed between both the local government -- the county governments and the state. in the end, state and local governments will now get $150 billion, with $8 billion set aside for tribal governments. the relief is desperately needed because state revenues have dried up almost overnight leaving them with untenable choices about how to allocate their health care and other resources. fifth, urgent help for small businesses. my dad was a small businessman, an exterminator. he used to pace the floors sunday nights until 2:00 a.m. because he didn't want to go to work. i know how small business people worry and suffer under normal times let alone these difficult times. this bill offers $350 billion in loan forgiveness grants to small businesses to keep their existing work force and to help pay for things like rent,
mortgage, and utilities. it provides $10 billion in emergency grants to provide immediate relief for small business operating costs. and of course there are many things besides in this bill. those were the five things we pushed for. small business was much in the bill that leader mcconnell put forward. all the rest, we as democrats have pushed hard for and gotten in the bill. now, there are other things, too. support for american families, including child care, education, senior care, housing, and more. one thing of particular importance to my state is public transit. the m.t.a. is drowning after such a steep and sudden loss of ridership. democrats asked for and now have secured $25 billion life preserver to keep those public transit systems afloat as well. and it's not just big cities. the bus systems in rural areas will depend on this as well. the bottom line is this -- this
bipartisan agreement will provide more resources to our public health system and protect american workers of all stripes. now, as i have said before, this bill is far from perfect. many flaws remain, some serious, but by no stretch of the imagination is this the bill the democrats would have written had we been in the majority. if democrats held the pen, we would have designed the assistance to troubled industries in a completely different way. we would have added even more support for medicaid, hospitals, community health centers, and nursing homes. a new patient protection -- and new patient protections to ensure that everyone with coronavirus can access and afford treatment. we would have increased food assistance. we would have included more relief for student borrowers and prohibitions on evictions and foreclosures on americans for the duration of the crisis. we have gotten many of those but not all on evictions and
foreclosures. we would have put workers first in every single part of the bill. that's what we tried to do here as much as possible, but senate democrats are not in the majority. we knew this bill had to pass muster with the republican administration, and a failure to reach an agreement in this time of deepening serious, painful national crisis was simply not an option. we have before us an imperfect bill but a necessary one. despite its flaws, it is far better than where we started, and it's time to pass it. now, before i yield the floor, there are some people i have to recognize. the republican chairs and democratic ranking members and their staffs who have worked diligently on this legislation. senators leahy and cardin and shaheen and war revenue and reed and peters and wyden and so many more i could name, the whole caucus and their entire staffs, thank you. this bill is better because of your long hours and hard work.
the floor staff who kept this chamber open and running at all hours, we thank you. secretary mnuchin, aircraft euland, mark meadows, and their staffs who have spent more time in my office than they care to admit, thank you. now to my staff. i am blessed with the greatest staff a senator could have. they are so dedicated to the public good, they are so dedicated to this country, and you should have seen them working. jerry patrell and megan tyra have a little baby at home. both of them have important roles in my staff. they met here, got married. they were day in and day out. so was everybody else.
so was everybody else. i want to thank my staff. if the american people saw the work you did, they would be so proud. so thank you from the bottom of my heart. our colleagues and our staffs have committed themselves in this way because they understand the sacrifices being made by the american people in homes and hospitals across this great nation. the working families who are at home, missing paychecks, playing teacher and provider and caregiver all at once. the thousands of americans who are volunteering to help understaffed medical facilities, the small business owners who are watching the labor of their lives evaporate in an instant but are still paying their workers as much as they can manage. the nrs and doctors and health care workers who know better than anyone the risk of contracting this disease by treating infected patients who
go to work every day, working longer shifts to do god's work anyway. to them, to all americans, i say this -- help is on the way, big help, quick help. we are going to take up this bill and pass it to care for those who are now caring for us and help carry millions of americans through these dark times. this is certainly not the end of our work here in congress, but rather the end of the beginning. the crisis continues to deepen. there will be difficult days ahead, and the worst may be yet to come, and we certainly may have to come back and do further legislation, but we know right now help is on the way. and we will not stop working until we see our nation through this time of extraordinary challenge. i yield the floor and note the absence -- i yield the floor.
mr. gardner: mr. president. the presiding officer: the senator from colorado. mr. gardner: i thank you, mr. president. it is great to be back on the floor of the u.s. senate. it's a heavy obligation we have before us. on march 17, i was contacted by the tricounty health department to notify me that on march 11, i had been in a meeting with a coloradan who later tested positive for covid-19, and at the advice of the tricounty health department and the attending physician in the capitol, i entered self-quarantine to protect my colleagues, our community, and their family, and that time has now expired as of this morning. i certainly regret the fact that i missed a vote that passed 90-8 to complete phase two of our help to address covid-19. i wish i had been here because the vote would have been 91-8. but throughout that time that i was in quarantine, i had an opportunity to visit with
thousands and thousands of coloradans. telephone town halls and every congressional district to hear from business leaders, to hear from business individuals who have lost their jobs, to hear from parents who are at home with their kids who are out of school, not knowing if they would go back at all to work. to figure out how zoom works, to figure out how skype works, to figure out how technology works to teach their kids at home. throughout this process, i have adopted a three-prong approach to what we must do as a country to get through the crisis at hand. number one, we have to address the immediate health epidemic. what we are doing to, as the experts say, flatten the curve to stop the spread, to provide the resources, the tests, the protective equipment that we need to our states to make sure that they can fight this invisible virus. what we can be doing to give them the tools, the skills they need for the heroic efforts of our frontline health care
providers, the doctors, the nurses, the clerical staff, the janitors, the classified workers, all of the people who have been so heroic to provide health care to our people. that's phase one, making sure that we stop this epidemic and address the needs of the american people. prong two of this three-prong approach is about making sure that we provide individuals with immediate assistance, people who are terrified about what happens to their job, how they're going to make ends meet, what they're going to do to put food on the table, how they are going to pay their rent, how they are going to pay their mortgage, will they have a restaurant to go back to? that's prong two of this approach. prong three of course is to get our businesses up and running again to make sure that when this health epidemic is over, this health emergency is over, we can make sure we have an economy that snaps back and runs strong. and we will do that because we as a country will rise together. we will do it united. we will do it because we in this country know how to overcome great challenges. and we're taking these measures
to quarantine and self-isolate not because we are fearful of the virus, not because we're afraid of what will happen if we don't, but we're doing it out of love for each other. we're doing it out of love for our neighbors and our community and our parents and our grandparents and our children. we take the guidances of the health experts and the public policy experts seriously because we want to share that love with people to stop the spread so that we can avoid the surge that can overwhelm our health care systems. because we know under the best-case scenarios, best-case scenarios, we're looking at a situation that could utilize 95% of every hospital bed in this country. for the next year. we do this out of love for each other and for our community and to protect one another. in colorado right now, we have roughly a thousand-plus confirmed covid-19 patients. we have lost 12, perhaps more by the time i'm giving this speech today in colorado.
these lives, those who have tested positive, their loved ones are all in my prayers today. the governor of colorado obviously issuing the emergency declarations. i just spoke with the governor a few minutes ago to talk about how we can continue to provide the resources that colorado needs. over two million people across the denver metro area are now in some kind of a shelter-in-place order, ordered to stay at home. our nation is uneasy. our future is uncertain. and the level of anxiety that our country faces is the highest i have ever seen it. but we don't need to have uneasiness about our future because we will rise together. we will come together as a nation to overcome this. we know that our future -- the future of this nation will be prosperous again, that our economy will be thriving again, that our communities will be able to celebrate what we have overcome because that's what we
do in this great nation. we rise. we rise together. we stand together. coloradans have stepped up in every way possible. in a uniquely colorado way, you have hemp businesses that are now producing cotton swabs for medical needs. you have whiskey distilleries that are producing hand sanitizers for hospitals, for home health care. we have protective equipment that's being donated by the denver broncos and by marijuana industry and by so many other businesses across the state of colorado who are stepping up in ways that make all of us proud. they're checking on their neighbors. they're checking on their friends. they're making sure that elderly people in their church that they have met are okay, making sure that we check in with our loved ones and those around us. we have been able to get
successful tests upped and running in different places across colorado, helping different organizations and different health care facilities find new ways to process this overwhelming burden. and as this place has passed phase one that gave millions of dollars to the state of colorado and so many states around the country, as we passed phase two which prepares additional testing and nutrition programs and other ways to meet this challenge, we now turn to phase three. phase three addresses all three prongs of my approach. it addresses health emergency, assistance to individuals, and addresses the ability for our economy to snap back what we address this health emergency. it sheedz to pass now. it should have passed days ago. i don't think the american people give a hoot if it was a republican or democrat idea. i can tell you with my teletown halls, no one said, we hope the
republican-only version passes or the democrat version-only passes. that's not what they are saying. they are saying do your job because we're scared about what happens next. pass the relief that we need to get them back on their feet to make sure we know they'll be able to have food on the table to pay rent. i can't imagine what somebody who built for 50 years as a small business be going through every hour we delay wondering if that 50-year dream is going to stand and survive. shame on the people around here who said, you know what, let's have one more day of delay, one more hour of delay. because a republican could get their way or a democrat could get their way. when i was at home not once did i hear anybody say, could you stall a little bit more for partisan purposes? the american people are rising
above the fray. they are meeting this challenge in the spirit that i hear in every conversation i have. they are donating blood. they are sharing that love that i talked about with their neighbors, their communities. they are figuring out new ways to be together even when we're supposed to stand apart. that's what the american people are doing. and we're bickering about phase three and we'll have phase four and phase five. you know what we've done instead of patting ourselves on the back, you know what we've done? we managed to get back, i hope, to the starting line. we didn't run through the tape. we haven't finished the job. we've made it, i hope, to a place where we can now know we're back at the line and we can run together to fix what will be tremendous needs and to address tremendous needs of this country. to answer the anxiety that every single one of our constituents
has. that's what congress should do. that's what that congress must do, and i am glad and i'll be proud to vote for this bill today because we have to get this job done and there's more work to do. we have to make sure that people understand the recovery benefits that they are going to be receiving will help answer that anxiety to hopefully give them hope that the new categories of unemployment insurance that have been cede under this will also give them the ability to know it is going to be okay, to know that the small business loans that are being made available will help that restaurant stay in business. i talked to eve in aurora, and she didn't know how she was going to survive. she converted her whole business to takeout, but she didn't know how successful that would be. to roberta in plebo who had the same questions. this will help people to bring
people back on payroll that they let go because they didn't know how to make ends meet. to pay their utilities, to pay their rent, to have their mortgages and have that loan given and make the economy vibrant again. because that's what we do in this country. we don't look back, we look forward. and in colorado we look up to the great mountain horizon. we don't look down, we look up to see the next horizon and we strive for the optimistic next day. that's what we do in colorado. and i know this country does the same. you know, i talked to a 70-year-old coloradan in weld county, colorado who on a teletown hall. you could hear it in her voice, she didn't know what to do because she was old -- older than the experts say should be out and not following guidances.
but she said, i can't find the -- the disinfectants and cleaners that i need. how do i find that? so we were able to find her leaf. and the grocery stores stepped up and provided special hours for people. and they are delivering to people like the woman i spoke to. they are providing information to their communities and they've got clerks, they've got cashiers, they've got people stocking the shelves on the front line xeepg our communities safe. to all of them -- keeping our communities safe. to all of them, thank you for the work they've been doing each and every day. it's important to recognize in this country that we've seen great challenges. i remember my grandmother who passed away this year talking about her experiences in the great depression. this country's been through the great depression. we've been through the great recession. we will make it through the
great infection. that's what we do as a country. that's who we are as a people. the senate will approve this bill today and the house must approve it without delay, no excuses, no delay, pass the doggone bill now. the american people have expected this for a long time. it shouldn't have taken this long. do your job. do our job. get this done. we will act out of love for our communities. we will act out of compassion, and we will rise to the spirit that has made this country great. i've heard so many of my colleagues come together and talk about wartime footing or they talked about how we mobilized in a way that maybe the people have never seen in their lifetimes.
it's reminded me, though, what thomas payne wrote in the crisis during our revolution, which actually george washington read to his troops. and here is what thomas payne said. i call not upon a few but upon all not on this state or that state but on every state up and help us. lay your shoulders to the wheel better here to -- to have too much force than too little when so great an object is at stake. let it be told to the future world that in the depth of winter when nothing but hope and virtue could survive that the city and country alarmed at one
common danger can forth to meet and repulse it. we were taught in sunday school that our struggles lead to perseverance. that perseverance leads to character, and that character gives us hope. we will get through this, america. we will start with this bill. we've got a lot more work to do, but to my colleagues, do our jobs. get it done. no excuses. i yield the floor, mr. president, and note the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call:
a senator: madam president? the presiding officer: the senator from maryland is recognized. a senator: i would ask consent the quorum call be dispensed with. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. cardin: madam president, the people in this nation are hurting. we know that. they are very concerned about their own health. they're worried that they may be carrying the virus and they take it home to their elderly parent who could be -- come down with the virus. they are worried about how long this social distancing and
communicating from home and staying at home is going to be required in order to control the spread of the virus. they're worried about their economic circumstances, whether they're going to get a paycheck. and i am pleased that today we have an agreement with our leaders to move forward on the third stimulus package to deal with this crisis of covid-19. i first want to express my appreciation to our leadership. i have been in daily, almost hourly communication with senator schumer, and i know how hard he's worked to make sure that package really reaches the medical emergency that we have, that deals with the workers to make sure that they are protected and they are protected and whatever we do that provides the help for state and local governments, that provides the much needed attention to these particular issues and that we
have accountability on any of the moneys that are going particularly to our largest companies in this country. so i want to express my appreciation. and i am very pleased that our first priority, our very first priority is to deal with the public health challenge. this is included in what's happening in my state of maryland and what's happening in every state in our nation. so i am pleased that in our state it's team maryland. our congressional delegation is working very closely with governor hogan and his cabinet, and we're working very closely with our county executives and our mayors and our private sector to do everything we can to protect the public health of the people of our state. we've done what we can locally to make sure testing is available so we understand the dimensions of this problem. and the governor has taken extraordinary steps in order to increase our medical capacity in the likelihood that we're going to see a significant increase
number of those people that have the coronavirus. yes, we need to stay at home unless it is an urgent reason for us to be outside of home. and i'm frequently asked by my friends why don't we do as much as we can in the united states senate remotely? i think we should, including voting. so we need to distance ourselves and minimize social contact in order to prevent the spike of this disease which would test our medical capacity to handle it. so i was pleased that the third supplemental, the agreement that's been reached that we will vote on hopefully today, that it does have a surge in our medical capacity, a marshall plan to deal with our health care needs. i could go through a lot of the specifics. i think some have already gone through but i particularly appreciate the fact we have a hundred billion dollars for our hospitals and health care facilities, including clinics in
this bill. i am pleased that there is a 20% increase in hospital reimbursement rates, and i want to thank senator grassley and senator wyden for including in that provision a unique clause for the maryland hospitals so that they can be qualified for this. maryland has, as i think some of you know, an all-payer rate structure and we had to make sure these provisions would apply in maryland, and i thank them for their attention to that detail. there's also money in here for our hospitals to be ready for preparedness which i think is extremely important. and there is a separate line appropriation for our community health centers and our federally-qualified health clinics. that's critically important. they are being stressed as the needs are increasing and as the cost of treatment is increasing. we need to replenish the national stockpile. we know that concerns on protective gear, we know that.
we know that ventilators and respirators are in short supply. we have to make sure we have adequate replacement of what's been taken out of our national stockpile and available now to deal with the surge that is coming under any scenario so that our health care workers have the protective gear that they need and our patients have the medical facilities and the respirators that they need. we also have plussed up the work being done to deal with the development of a vaccine. i'm pleased that n.i.h. is getting the moneys that they need in order to do the work. we know that we're not going to have a vaccine in time this year, but we want to make sure we get it as soon as possible and it's on a fast track and these funds will help us develop that vaccine for the future needs of controlling this type of a virus. but in the meantime, we're also putting resources into therapeutic drugs, drugs that can help people that are sick today. those drugs are not yet
available, but we want to make sure we do everything we can to make them available as soon as possible. fema has been bumped up substantially in this bill for good reason. the federal emergency management agency. and that brings me to the point that is a major improvement that's been brought in this legislation to help our state and local governments. they're the front lines of providing these public health needs and we need to provide them the resources they need. so fema needs to be properly appropriated and we had the money in here to help fema, but we also need direct help to our local governments to deal with this problem and we see that our state and local public health officers are getting extra money, federal reporting so we know exactly what the status is in each of our communities. all that is important for our marshall plan to control this disease and get it under control. but i wanted to take this time
to talk about a matter that i was working on on small business. and i mention that recognizing we've got to get our economy back on track. the best way to get our economy back on track? get this virus controlled. get people able to get out, to work, and to buy and participate in our economy. that's the best thing we can do. but this package also recognizes that unless we help businesses and workers today, we're not going to be prepared for our economy when we are able to rebound. my role as the senior democrat on the small business committee working with senator rubio, the chairman of that committee was to make sure we had a robust provision to preserve the growth engine and innovation engine of our economy, and that is small businesses. there's more job growth for small companies. there's more innovation in small companies. we need to preserve the ability
of small companies to get through this time. and quite frankly, they don't have the same deep pockets that large companies have. they don't have the same availability of credit that large companies have. they don't have the same banking arrangements that large companies have. they don't have the same flexibility that large companies have. so we have to provide special attention to small businesses and this package does that in a very, very robust way. so first, i already mentioned senator rubio. i thank him for his leadership. the two of us were working together well before this week. and that's why we were probably further along on helping small businesses than the other parts of this package dealing with the various economic areas. senator shaheen was a valuable member of our team. i've worked with senator shaheen on small business issues for a long time. she was a key player in putting
together the package that we have to present to our colleagues here in the united states senate. i also want to acknowledge senator collins. it was the four of us that were meeting regularly, communicating regularly that recommend this package that you will shortly be voting on as it relates to small business. so i also if i could i'd like to acknowledge members of my own staff that have worked literally 24/7. i've talked to them at various times during the night and day and it's been very stressful for all of us, but our staffs get no rest whatsoever. so to sean moore and the entire staff on the democratic side of small business committee, thank you on behalf of america's small businesses and workers and on behalf of our country. and to ron storhoff who has been doing a lot of these provisions on my staff in regards to the tax issues, in regards to a lot of these other issues, thank him
for all of his work and to lauren jea who has not only helped us put together the small business package but she's been available to help maryland health providers and patients to try to get through where we are today. all that's reflected in the bill that we will be voting on later. and i know on the republican side there's been dedicated staff who have done equal work to make sure that we have a bill that we can present today. so let me go over, if i might, some of the provisions that we have in here for small businesses. we have three new programs, three new programs to help small businesses in our community. they'll have different titles, but every one of them provide grant help to small businesses. i'm going to repeat that. you might hear this is a loan. no, these are going to be funds that go to small businesses that do not have to be repaid.
these are grant money. why? because a small business owner can't incur more debt today when they had no idea how they are going to be able to survive in the future. we've got to provide immediate help, immediate help. it's got to be substantial. and it's got to be in a way that they know that they're not incup bettering their future -- incumbering their future. we've got to get that message out. this is going to be immediate help to help america's small business. one program provides $350 billion of relief to small companies under 500 employees. $350 billion. it is triggered by going to your financial institution and getting what's known as a 7-a loan. let me caution you. it's going to be forgiven if you follow the rules here. but you go to a bank, a
financial institution. you do a 7-a loan, a hundred percent guaranteed by the government so the bank has no risk factor. there are no payments due for a year. even getting into this loan, there are no obligations for cash outlays on behalf of the borrower. the fees have been waived. so this is a cost-free opportunity to get the cash you need to keep your small business open. that's the purpose of this new program under the small business administration. the amount of the loan. you take your average payroll before the coronavirus was here, and you take your monthly average payroll and multiply it by 2.5. basically, what you're getting is two months of payroll for your workers, plus an extra -- it comes out to an extra 25% of
your payroll because it's two months of that. now, what eligible expenses -- what can you use this for? well, you can use the two months for payroll. pay your workers. keep them employed. it saves you the cost of rehiring if you had to furlough or lay off workers. you can keep them employed. you can use the extra funds to cover their expenses that you have on their health care or held expenses. you can use the extra 25% for rents or mortgage payments or utility bills. so it gives you a cash to conduct your business for the next two months. it gives you the ability to keep afloat so that you're ready to rebound when the economy rebounds. who is eligible? companies under 500, but we went beyond the traditional 7-a's
eligibility. we are also allowing nonprofits to be able to get into this program so that they will also be able to stay afloat, because we know the important work that nonprofits do for our community. they are also eligible. we gave some relaxation to the 500 rule for locations that were for restaurants or hotels that have multiple locations. this is a program that's aimed at keeping businesses open and ready, small businesses for when we get through this coronavirus. and then this amount of money that you borrowed is totally forgiven. totally forgiven if you maintain your workforce to the pre-coronavirus level or bring back your workforce to the pre-coronavirus level during the stated period of time of this bill. so if you keep your work force, bring back your work force, the government's going to help you
maintain your ability and make sure your workers get paid and their benefits are maintained. it works very well with the other provisions that are in other parts of this bill such as the unemployment insurance benefits. yes, if you furlough workers, can you collect unemployment benefits at basically full salary for the next four months, so that's also available to small businesses. but we want you to also know that you can keep your employees employed, there, ready for the business to rebound, as we hope it will shortly. that's just one program. we have other programs available. we have a new program which is labeled as a grant, a $10 billion grant program for emergency cash availability for small businesses. there are businesses that have a hard time going to a bank and
getting a commercial loan. there are many small businesses that need cash today. they can't wait for that process to work its way through to get that check from the small business administration through one of their financial institutions. it's going to take a little bit longer for them to be able to get that done. so we have emergency disaster relief loans in the first supplemental. we made it clear that small businesses qualify for emergency disaster relief loans if they have been adversely impacted by the coronavirus. these are direct loans coming out of the small business administration. these are not loans that are from financial institutions. we have included that in the first supplemental. we have now -- we now allow you to make that application and with that application if you need to get cash immediately, the s.b.a. can write you a check for up to $10,000. and we want that done within
three days. we want that money out in days, not weeks. we hear that all the time from small businesses. we need help now. well, this program -- and i was pleased to work on this program. i filed legislation on it. this is a need that's out there today and will be available to small business owners. now, we have a third program. that's two programs. you can get this basically two-month help from the federal government to pay your payroll and related expenses. you can get a $10,000 immediate cash advancement on that through applying for disaster relief loan and showing a need at this stage, and then there is a third program. there are many small businesses today that have existing loans under the small business administration. these are 7-a loans or 504 loans. 7-a is the traditional lope. 504 are the larger loans. what this bill does is provide
$17 billion of relief so those who had these existing loans do not need to make any payments on those loans, they're forgiven for the next six months. i particularly want to acknowledge senator coons' work on this. this is a bill that we have been working on and is only reasonable to relief. we are asking others to relief debt. let us do it for our small businesses under the 7-a and 504 programs. so you see, mr. president, there are a lot of provisions here that help our small businesses. i want to tell you that there are others in addition to those three i just mentioned, i'm pleased that we do have contract protection in this bill. let me explain what that means. this applies to all businesses, not just small businesses. but small businesses that are particularly impacted by it. but you can't perform that government contract because you
can't get access to the facility because it's shuttered as a result of the coronavirus. this bill allows you, the federal government, to make sure you have adequate funds available to pay your workers so that those individuals who should have been working at the federal facility will get paid during this period of time. we also provide money in the minority business development centers. they are there in our community. why? because we have to get the message out to small businesses about these new tools, how we can access banks to get the 7-a loans that are forgiven that are actually grants. how they can apply to the small business administration for disaster relief loans and get a cash advancement. how they can get relief from the current 7-a and 504 loans. so we give money to these institutions so that these entrepreneur service groups so they can help women businesses and minority businesses get
access. i must tell you, madam president, we have also put a clear intent that we expect financial institutions to make loans to all sized small businesses in all communities so that all communities can benefit from this legislation. we have increased the size of express loans under this. and i just want to compliment the work of other working groups, particularly on the tax provisions. i was very pleased to work with senator wyden. the two of us worked on what's known as a retention credit which allows companies to bring the furloughed workers back and get get a credit up to 50% of that wage up to $10,000 as a tax credit in order to bring back those workers. well, for some small businesses, that may be a better option than what i have outlined before in regards to the two and a half months of aid based on payroll.
you have a choice. you can do better under retention credit. it's a new credit. if not, use the other. small businesses are given more flexibility. thank you, senator wyden, for helping us. i also want to acknowledge senator warner who was very instrumental in getting that provision adopted. so, madam president, you see there is a whole range of tools in here to keep small businesses operating, paying their workers so they don't have to reinvent their employers after this crisis is over. they can keep qualified people. mr. reid, they get the paychecks, and our economy is ready to get back into shape. there are many other provisions in this bill, including the cash payments under the i.r.s., $1,200 per taxpayer that will help in this regard. when you put this all together,
this is a robust package to bring our economy, to hold our economy so that it can perform at a level that it's ready to take off again without the dire consequences of people not having income in order to pay their bills. through these small business provisions, small business owners can keep their businesses intact. through unemployment insurance, those that are laid off or furloughed could get their salaries. through the i.r.s. checks, people will have some cash. through some of these other programs, we are providing relief like delaying the time and paying the employer's share of the fica taxes. you put that all together, there is a lot of help out here to keep our economy going during this crisis, with particular focus on the workers and on small business. the last point i should point out, the self-employed, the gig economy are fully covered under the small business provisions. they are fully covered under the u.i. provisions. we are trying to make sure that we preserve our economy, that we preserve workers and their
families and their abilities to pay their bills. i think when you take a look at this whole package, the challenge will be to get the information out to our commits, to these businesses, to these workers so they know what's in this package so that they can act now, because, quite frankly, people are desperate, companies are desperate. when malls are closed as they are in maryland and you are operating a small business in that mall, have no business at all, you don't know how you are going to make your next payroll. you have to make decisions today. that's why it's important we vote on this bill today, get it to the president as soon as possible, get the information out to the small businesses and to the workers and to all businesses that we are here to help keep them open, to keep the paychecks flowing, to keep our economy moving, that we're in this together, we're going to get through this period of time, our economy is going to come back, but we want you to know to take advantage of these tools so that we can minimize the adverse
impact of the coronavirus. and with that, madam president, i would yield the floor. mr. lankford: madam president. the presiding officer: the senator from oklahoma is recognized. mr. lankford: this morning, technical sergeant marshall roberts of oklahoma came home. it was a dignified transfer in tulsa, oklahoma, earlier this
morning. there were a lot of people that wanted to be there, but because of covid-19 could not. but a lot of other folks were. tech sergeant marshall roberts was killed in iraq wednesday, march 11, when his unit was engaged by indirect enemy fire while they were sleeping. he was 17 miles north of baghdad. he was deployed with the 219th engineering installation squadron, a subordinate unit of the 138th out of tulsa, oklahoma. he was in the process of building communications infrastructure as part of the fight against isis. the operation that robert serve, operation inherent resolve, has been a vital part of protecting our nation and bringing stability to the region. roberts enlisted in the oklahoma air national guard in may of 2014. he was killed in action as the
first oklahoma international guardsman who has died, but the 20th oklahoma national guardsman who has died since september 11, 2001. the perpetual comment that i heard from the folks that i talked to about tech sergeant roberts was he was one of the good guys. he was always known for having a smile on his face, was selfless. he served others all the way to the end. the night of the attack, there was a truck launcher that fired off 30 kartucha rockets at their camp as they were sleeping. 18 of those rockets landed inside the camp facility. as the noise happened around him, sergeant roberts told his fellow airmen to get up, get going, get their body armor on, and as he stepped away to go warn other people to do the same, a rocket came. but some of the people standing right there that he had told them to get their body armor on,
he saved their life. he was posthumously promoted -- he was posthumously promoted to technical sergeant. he was born january 29, 1992, in tulsa, oklahoma. marshall's parents, salary and rand -- sally and randy, raised him in owosso, oklahoma, where he graduated from high school. he has a beautiful daughter peyton who has been the love of his life. november 15, 2018, marshall was married to chrissy and they were both in the 138th. their deep love for god, their deep love for their country and their obvious love for each other was a significant part of the 138th.
everyone knew them, knew what they were like, and were glad to be called their friends. he was a brother, he was a son, he was a father, he was a husband, and our state and our nation grieves him today coming home. one story about he and christie, though. they met and started dating while they were both serving with the 138th. she had been in the 138th for 15 years. they dated four years before they got married in 2018. they had been married just less than two years. they were both avid football fans, but there was a major problem. chrissy is a kansas chiefs fan and marshall is a -- he fixed that by proposing at the
steelers-chiefs game. i have to tell you, the family for the folks that stood there today in tulsa as he came home, they found a way to be able to love on each other, they found a way to be able to serve each other and they are still sacrificing for the country. because -- because the covid-19 that's happening right now, they've chosen not to have a public memorial service and they are delaying that time until it's safer for all of the family and for all the community to be able to participate. literally their family continues the grief in the wait, one more sacrifice for their country and for their community.
today all of oklahoma is using a hashtag to share messages with the family. hashtag gstg marshall roberts, to be able to share a message of support and love for the family. our nation is grateful and we grieve with you for the loss today. thank you to him and his family for wearing the cloth of our country and for doing everything that our nation asked of him until the very end. our nation lives in freedom because of folks like marshall roberts and we will continue to stand with chrissy and peyton and with their family. with that, i yield.
mr. lankford: mr. president. the presiding officer: the senator from oklahoma. mr. lankford: mr. president, we're in the process of passing a very large economic package to help stabilize our economy through the middle of all that's happening with covid-19 globally and in the united states. the heart of the package we're passing today is almost identical to what we brought sunday night which was a bipartisan proposal which ranking members and chairmen of all the ranking committees worked together to get this done. the key elements are still there, it's unemployment insurance for americans, including $600 plus to be able to go through the process. there is support for small businesses that will actually pay the payroll. we don't want individuals to end up on unemployment insurance. it's better if they stay connected to their same company. there's a unique new proposal that will say a small business can go to any bank rapidly to be able to get a loan there which will convert into a grant if they maintain their current employee numbers.
that keeps people connected to their business and keeps people assured of a job at the end of all of this when it all finishes it out. it is a grant program for larger businesses that's designed to say if you're a very large company, you're not going to get a grant, you're going to get a loan through this process. at that moment you will get a loan and if you don't have capital or access to it right now because of what is going on, you could get that. this also has a feature built in where individuals will receive a check for $100 to give support to people all across the country. all those features were in the bill. there have been tweaks, some or democratic colleagues wanted changes, many of those changes have been heard and added and some we said, absolutely not, it's not connected to covid-19 at all. there are some things our democratic colleagues wanted to make sure they got in and through all of the negotiations some of these things were
changed. for instance, they really wanted to medicare sure that energy companies couldn't get any support so they fought hard to make sure there is no additional money for the president buying additional oil to put in the strategic petroleum reserve at the lowest price now so it will actually cost us more money in the future, but it was their intention to say we don't want oil companies to get any kind of support in this downturn the they wanted to make sure there wags great transparency they so built an inspector general and a bunch of different people to watch the treasury through the process. they put in a neat feature that they demanded and that was no son or daughter or family member or any individual that works with the presidency or vice presidency or the congress could get any of the grant -- not the grant programs, but the loan programs. no son-in-law could get that. i wonder who that could be targeted towards. a particular son-in-law that might be there.
literally a lot of this fight that we've had over the last three days is because they were demanding that there was no way that the president or any of his family could get any kind of loan or benefit from this loan at all. so we spent three days -- three days of delay because they had some additional demands for some things they wanted to do, significantly targeted a lot of the president and his family. i understand they don't like the president. i get that. we want to do everything we can to be able to protect the workers, that's why we put in the work and the bipartisan work to get it done. it's done now. let's get it going. our encouragement is to have the house finish it up as quickly as possible and be able to get the support to the american people. what's been interesting, though, is in the speeches that i heard on the floor today from my colleagues and from many individuals in releases that i've seen is folks have mentioned their prayer, they
have mentioned with god's help we're going to get through this, they have mentioned the struggle that we're going through as a nation and how we're praying for each other and it keeps reminding me of something. it's a very old solemn, solemn21. when the jews would come into jerusalem, they would sing songs of ascent as they came off the eastern hills and start rising up towards jersey lum. the congress they would sing is pertinent, it reads, i lift up my eyes to the mountains. where does my help come from? i remember the mountains here is the capital city jerusalem, it is the seed of government of worship for them. they would sing, i lift up my eyes to the mountains. where does my help come from? my help comes from the lord, the maker of heaven and earth.
he will not let your foot slip. he who watches over israel will neither slumber or sleep. the lord watches over you. the sun will not harm you by day nor the moon by night. the lord will keep you from harm. he will watch over you. the lord will watch over your coming and going both now and forever more. it's interesting to me that the people would come in, marching into jerusalem, the seed of government singing, i lift up my eyes to the mountain. where does my help come from? my help comes from the lord. of all of the things going on in washington, d.c., right now, you will hear people repeating over and over again, our hope is not in government, our hope is not in how much money we can spend. we understand full well when we lift up our eyes to the mountain, to this bill hill, we
china late last year spread across the globe. the chinese communist party deceived the world and even their own people and unleashed the worst pandemic in a century upon us all. now it falls on us to defeat it. here at home a strange and unsettling hush has fallen over the country as businesses close and millions of americans brace for what's to come. in new york, seattle, new orleans, and elsewhere preparation for the virus has ended. the virus has arrived in force. the urgent battle to suppress it has begun. in emergency rooms and i.c.u.'s courageous doctors and nurses are locked in a battle to save the lives of their patients. protective gear is in short supply, but their regard for safety and even family comes second to their duty. the days ahead will be a
close-run thing in those cities as they struggle to keep their hospitals open and functioning. but make no mistake, the china virus will spare none of us. the -- from the high rises of the big cities to the hills of the ozarks. soon the senate will finally pass desperately needed emergency legislation for our nation, including a massive infusion of funds to our health care system. but this legislation isn't about stimulus. it's about survival. with this legislation behind us, americans are beginning to ask, what's next? yes, the virus is testing us already and it has already touched most of us by closing our churches, shuttering our businesses and threatening the
jobs and retirement savings of millions of americans and, of course, threatening our lives. it's only natural that so many are wondering anxiously when and how this unprecedented crisis will end and when it ends will their jobs still be there? how will they put food on the table? how will they pay the bills? americans want to know the plan so they can do their part. more fundamentally they want to know that there is a plan. combined with worry about the future naturally breeds frustration. we are citizens, after all, not merely passive carriers of a deadly pathogen. this frustration has given rise to a new and growing argument that americans can't wait any longer that we ought to open back up and take our chances with this virus. after all, we can't stay inside
for every. -- forever. we can't, as the saying goes, let the cure be worse than the disease. the emergency to stave off economic collapse is, of course, understandable. and it's tempting to think that we face a simple choice between shutting down to fight the virus and opening up to save the economy. but a choice is not so simple. some thoughtful observers note that the seasonal flu, an automobile -- and automobile accidents kill more americans annually than has this virus. that's true as far as it goes. but we're just at the beginning of this pandemic. and i have to add the javits center in new york city has never been converted into a field hospital for the flu and car wrecks. granting that, some say, perhaps we can reopen in a few days
since our elderly are most at risk from this virus. quarantine them. keep them safe, the argument goes while the rest of us get back to work. but there are 72 million americans over the age of 60 in this country. many of them raise children, live alone, or work outside the home. they can't wall themselves off from the world, nor should we wall them in. moreover, tens of millions of younger americans have preexisting conditions that put them at elevated risk from this virus. are we to quarantine all of them, too? because even younger and healthier americans are not safe from this pandemic. the china virus attacks the lungs of the young and the old alike. of the cases we know about, the virus appears to send about one
in seven younger people to the hospital. it's true that survival rates for younger patients are better, but even their recovery depends on a functioning health care system. if we give up on our efforts to control this virus now, our medical system will be overwhelmed. hospitals will collapse. care will be rationed. doctors will face the terrible choice of whom to save and whom to let perish. and not just for patients of this virus, for every american who needs intensive care, whether from heart attack or stroke or car wreck or anything else. besides if left unchecked, this deadly virus will continue to wreck our economy as surely as it has already. it wasn't president trump who shut down businesses, after all.
and it really wasn't even governors and mayors, though they issued the orders. government-enforced closures were largely a rear guard action by communities who add already ground to a halt due to the virus or that soon would have come to a wrenching stop in the teeth of the pandemic. who among us would take our kids to a restaurant tomorrow if we opened back up? our economy isn't seized up because of government dictates but rather because our people are understandably fearful of a dangerous virus. so an immediate reopening without the resources in place to fight the virus isn't an option. our hospitals would be overwhelmed. our brave doctors and nurses would succumb to the illness. our businesses would keep their
doors closed or would quickly close their doors again as workers and customers stayed away. the supposed choice between saving the economy and fighting the virus turns out not to be much of a choice at all. we can't yet stop the strong measures that are in place because we have no better option in the short run. but neither can we continue them forever. the american people can only hold out for so long. so we must come up with a better plan and fast. that plan starts with this big pause as we protect ourselves and each other. we simply don't have the resources today to fight any other way, but it will end with this approach. we must use the precious days and weeks ahead to lay the groundwork for a new strategy to fight the virus, a strategy that
will allow all of us to gradually get back to work. for that to happen we'll need to scale up our ability to rapidly test for the virus as they have in south korea. so we have a sense of where the virus is and where we must keep it contained. already america's public laboratories and companies are rising to the challenge processing tens of thousands of tests. but our ability to test must grow even faster and it is. we'll need masks, too, millions of them. and we'll need local personnel trained and prepared to do widespread contact tracing for those who test positive. we'll have to develop procedures for strict quarantines of those who test possible or those who have been exposed to the virus with zero tolerance for breaking quarantine and endangering our fellow citizens. once these elements are in place
and the first wave of this virus is passed, then we'll be prepared to reopen our cities and communities while remaining vigilant but new outbreaks. these preparations will ensure we're ready to sustain our way of life until our scientists can create what we so das separately need -- we so desperately need, therapeutic drugs and ultimately a vaccine. a vaccine may take a year or more before it's available, but these other intermediate precautions must go into effect much, much faster. america must indeed reopen. when we do, these decisions must be based on local conditions, not an arbitrary nationwide timeline. our governors and mayors understand their local conditions. they can make gradual rolling, calibrated decisions in a way that is responsible when the tools to effectively fight this
virus are ready and available. what i've outlined may seem like a daunting, even an impossible challenge, but our nation has overcome far greater challenges before. already america is rising to take on the china virus. the giant of american industry is wakening, retooling our factories to join this fight just as we did during world war ii. never bet against america's workers and american ingenuity. and all across this country americans are springing into action. we know the vital role our doctors and nurses will play in the coming months alongside our first responders, our factory workers and farmers, our grocers and on down the list. ask yourself now how can you help. can you keep your distance from those most at risk realizing
that the china virus preys on our most earnest desires, for society and companionship. can you offer a charity for a friend in need? can you pick up groceries for your elderly neighbor? can you keep your workers on payroll an benefits just a little longer until our legislation kicks in? can you postpone your tenant's rent for a month? can you pray for deliverance of our nation and the world? these are just a few of the things we must do as a country to make reopening possible and life bearable in the months ahead. we're all in this together so we'll need to have each other's best interests at heart. many years of comfort and ease have perhaps conditioned us to ask only what we're free to do, not what we're called to do. the old disopinions of peril and
privation threaten to return. we'll need old notions of duty to maintain order in the face of them. the darkest days of this crisis are in all likelihood still ahead of us. let us face up to them bravely. let us acknowledge the troubles ahead and let us devote our whole energy to winning this battle quickly so that the normal life of our nation can resume. mr. president, i yield the floor. a senator: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from texas.
mr. cornyn: mr. president, during times of disaster, crisis or hardship, i am -- i never failed to be inspierped by the -- inspired by the generosity of americans, including folks in my home state of texas. i think about how we came together in the wake of hurricane harvey, to lead search and rescue operations, clear debris, and rebuild communities and lives. we saw strangers forming human chains to rescue a driver trapped in a car. restaurants offering free meals to first responders. and a houston legend known aaffectionately as mattress mack opening his furniture stores for those who needed shelter. one volunteer said i've met more of my neighbors in the last 24 hours than i have in the last 20
years. well, these heart warming stories of texans lending a hand to one another are a source of comfort, even during the toughest times. right now when extending a physical hand is one of the worst things you can do because it violates social distancing rules, there's til plenty of neighbors -- there's still plenty of neighbors helping their neighbors. folks in texas like around the country are staying home to keep themselves and their neighbors safe, and we're seeing new and creative means of supporting one another. for example, a number oftilries across -- of distilleries across the state have switched from making vodka or whiskey to hand sanitizer. with demands surging and hand sanitizer in short supply, more and more hospitals are struggling to keep it in stock and these distilleries are
stepping up to fill the void. jonathan lockridge is the headtilry and cofounder of the en route republictilry in dens denson, texas and they said they got a call asking if they could help. of course he said yes. but businesses like this aren't alone. h.e.b., a grocery chain, has taken steps to make shopping easier for seniors who are at most risk if they contract the coronavirus. h.b.p. partnered to take grocery delivery, a service many americans already utilize and make it more accessible to seniors. they could pick up the phone, place an order, and have everything they need delivered to their front door within a few hours, all without having to leave home. we've also seen other
organizations working to adapt to these challenging circumstances. the boys and girls club of greater houston partnered with the houston food bank to open a drive-thru pantry. families can get a whole week's worth of healthy meals without ever stepping out of the car. of course, it's not just businesses and organizations who are helping out. people are helping other people. people are donating blood to alleviate the critical shortage that hospitals are facing. and all of us should consider if we can donating blood. they're leaving note in neighbors' mailboxes offering to run errands and pick up supplies. on social media school teachers that are at home are offering to help parents with their math,
science, or other subjects that they may be struggling to teach their kids while they're at home and not at school. neighbors helping neighbors, friends helping strangers, texans helping texans. that's one thing i love about this great country. our communities always jump into action to help any way they can. they do what it takes to survive a crisis and keep one another safe and healthy until we emerge on the other side. mr. president, it's time for the senate to do its part. there's been no event in my lifetime that has had this big an impact on the physical and economic health of our country. every day we learn about more new cases, rising unemployment, and unprecedented market
volatility. we have a responsibility to act and to act quickly in response to this dueling crisis. already we were able to work and send two bills to the president's desk for signature. the first sent vital support to health care professionals and first responders who are doing everything they can to treat patients and prepare for more cases. we also provided initial funding for development of a vaccine, clinical trials, and more diagnostic tests. the second bill we passed focused more on the small businesses and the individual workers who are impacted economically. it included changes in unemployment insurance so that those who find themselves out of a job can promptly take advantage of these benefits. and made paid sick and family leave available for workers impacted by the virus. that's what we did in these
first two bills. were they perfect? well, no. the second bill in particular fell short in a number of areas. it was largely negotiated by secretary of the treasury mnuchin and speaker pelosi. but we decided that in the interest of the greater good and the country and the people who were hurting during this crisis, that we in the senate would pass it expeditiously. as the saying goes, you can't let the perfect be the enemy of the good. we acted quickly to get both bills to the president's desk, because the circumstances demanded it. sadly, over the last few days, our colleagues on the other side of the aisle have been oblivious to the sense of urgency that every other american seems to understand. after the original intense bipartisan negotiations, we were finalizing a third relief bill
which included by definition ideas from both republicans and democrats. we were optimistic that we would be able to take up and pass the bill on sunday, or at least get it started and pass the bill on monday, but clearly that didn't happen. our democratic colleagues blocked us from even debating the bill, not once but twice. the minority leader said the bill, which his members had helped write, wasn't good enough. he spent the next three days trying to change the bill to include provisions that he thought were more important priorities during a national emergency. things like tax credits for solar panels and tighter emissions standards for airlines, proposals that have absolutely nothing to do with this crisis. after a few incredulous days,
america woke up to the news today that our democratic colleagues are finally ready to stop this posturing and this obstruction and to get this job done. after blocking this bill twice and holding up this emergency lifeline, here's what the minority leader claims is a victory. he says the democrats expanded unemployment insurance to help laid off workers and those who are self-employed, but, mr. president, as we all know, that was already part of the bill that had been negotiated between democrats and republicans. then the minority leader said americans will get direct aid, but we have been talking about that for weeks. that was part of the bill that democrats blocked twice. and let's get this -- let's be clear about this. here we are, members of the united states congress, getting a paycheck, and they have the
temerity to block two times emergency aid to people who aren't -- who have no income at all through no fault of their own? it's outrageous. then the minority leader said he secured unprecedented aid for america's hospitals, but as it turns out that was part of the bill democrats blocked twice. it was the subject of bipartisan negotiations, and we thought a consensus. well, the bill that democrats blocked twice was a bipartisan bill to begin with. democrats and republicans worked together and agreed to each of these points before the first votes were cast. the minority leader's members had spent countless hours negotiating with republicans. that's how you get things done. but then he single-handedly tries to take credit for the work that they have done.
for days, democrats needlessly blocked a bill that would have bolstered our fight to defeat this virus and protected our economy in the process. i am absolutely angry that they chose to waste so much valuable time when there are so many different people in need, but i am also relieved that they finally agreed to quit playing their partisan games so we can vote on this legislation today. this bill sends desperately needed funding to hospitals that are struggling to manage an influx of patients and helps fight the shortage of masks and other personal protective equipment, one of the priorities my governor had mentioned to me. it provides the direct financial assistance that was already in the two bills that our democratic colleague blocked. a family of four will receive up to $3,400 under this legislation, which will go a
long way to throwing that lifeline to them and cover their rent, groceries, electric bills, and other expenses until they can make other arrangements, like apply for unemployment insurance under our beefed up provisions. this legislation will also provide relief for small businesses that are struggling to stay afloat. many of these businesses that had to shut -- have had to shut down because they have been ordered by the government to do so, and now they need some help to make sure that the jobs they currently provide will still be available when we get to the other side of this crisis. and particularly we need to make sure that the employees they depend on and will depend on in the future will still be there when they reopen their doors. both the physical and economic health of our country in crisis, this bold legislation is our best path forward.
i appreciate the work that's been done by so many around the clock for the better part of the past week to get this bill finally to the floor, and i look forward to supporting it so that my constituents, the 29 million people that call texas home will get help as soon as possible. as we prepare to pass this legislation and send it to the house, i urge them to act quickly, but you may recall, mr. president, it was speaker pelosi who flew back into town after a week-long recess, dropped an 1,100-page bill and made all these outrageous new demands. clearing out their partisan or ideological outbox or wish list. well, incredibly, now that there has been an agreement here in the senate with the administration, speaker pelosi hasn't even called the house back into session. as a matter of fact, they had a -- they gaveled in session and
out of session today, and they won't be back in session until tomorrow. speaker pelosi has a huge challenge. unless she can get unanimous consent to pass a $2 trillion bill through the house, she may well have to call back into session the entire house of representatives. with restricted flights because of the lack of demand and the cost cutting that airlines are going through with the concerns about people sheltering in place, maintaining social distance and good hygiene to stop the spread of this virus, speaker pelosi has created a terrible problem for herself. but more importantly, she has created even more of a problem for the rest of the country because we need to get this passed out of the senate today and out of the house and to the president as soon as possible. the american people are depending on us to respond
mrs. blackburn: mr. president. the presiding officer: the senator from tennessee. mrs. blackburn: are we in a quorum call? the presiding officer: no. mrs. blackburn: we are not. thank you, mr. president. you know, i have to say last night was an unusually late night here in washington and we were all impatient, our staff was impatient, and the press was impatient. and as we talked to people across the state, what we realized was they've long been running out of patience. i talked about it for some time on the floor but for the hourly worker, factory worker, songwriter, gig worker, they've been telling me they are running
out of time and they have just been really anxious for what was going to come about out of this chamber. and i know that in the days and weeks ahead, as we work through getting relief to communities and individuals and small business owners and large companies, that there's going to be a lot of blame that is going to be thrown around. there are going to be some that are going to blame politicians. there are others that are going to blame the way the economy is structured. there are others still who are going to blame the health care system. but i will tell you i think that there is a necessity to have a discussion about why we do have this current crisis, and it is because of the leadership of the chinese government, the people's republic of china.
that leadership in beijing. and we have gone round and round with activists and media on the point and i shouldn't have to point out that when we say that china is to blame for the spread of the novel coronavirus that we call covid-19, we do not mean the chinese people as a whole, but yet we have some that do not want to say this is where it came from. i think we should stop that and we should move forward with decisions based on fact, with decisions that are based on data, and we need to begin to collect those facts and to collect that data as it pertains to this disease. this is how we get to the antivirals, this is how we get to having a vaccine, and it's
how we look at lessons learned so that we don't go back through this again, so that we plan to tackle some of the unexpected occurrences that will come our way. and as we talk about facts, we do know that covid-19 originated in wuhan, china. from there it spread rapidly and it has had devastating consequences. the economy is crumbling. we're working desperately to shore it up. innocent people have been in the hospital or sick. i talked to one tennessean this morning who said, i'm happy to report my husband is coming back around. he has been suffering for the last many days with covid-19. we've got world -- the world's health care professionals, and
what are they doing? they are working to the point of exhaustion. and what you have is beijing's reckless communist dogma and they are trying to blame everybody else. and today we are going to move forward with the rescue package. this is the phase three package. it is the fourth tranche of money. i'm including in that the president's emergency declaration, which put about $50 billion towards fighting this. and as we do this and as we say what is our way forward on -- on addressing this, what we have do is realize that our relationship with china is going to need to change and change for the better. there is no denying that the way they have conducted themselves
has put that relationship on dangerous ground. and today i invite my colleagues to support the bicameral senate resolution 553 and acknowledge that beijing intentionally spread misinformation to downplay the severity of covid-19 and baselessly denied the risk of person-to-person transmission of the disease. they refused to cooperate with international health authorities, including the c.d.c. during the early days of the outbreak, they censored doctors and journalists. we all remember what happened with the late dr. li when he tried to give us the warnings, and on top of everything else, they maliciously ignored the health and safety of ethnic minorities. mr. president, this is the easy part. the facts are there. all we have to do is acknowledge
the facts that are there and use this as a beginning because this resolution is, as i said, it's bicameral, it is bipartisan in the house, and we have no reason not to push it forward and send the message that we realize what happened to cause a global pandemic. and after we acknowledge beijing's gross malfeasance, we're going to adjust the way we think about china in the context of the economy, of our national defense, technology, human rights, and pharmaceutical manufacturing. when you think about it, the fact that beijing intentionally downplayed the deadly nature of covid-19 should come as no surprise. for decades -- decades china has made a business -- it has been
their business to search out our vulnerabilities, exploit those vulnerabilities and what did they try to do? they tried to use that as leverage against us. so it is time for us to say no more. now, here is another component. i've talked about in this week on the floor. our pharmaceutical supply chain. on february 22, 2020, this year the f.d.a. announced the shortage of a drug used to treat victims of covid-19. imagine that, there was a drug shortage. they attributed the shortage of getting the active ingredient in this pharmaceutical, they are called ap -- a.p.i.'s. they couldn't get it from the site in china which is the site
that manufactured it because that site had been affected by covid-19. so here we are. we need this component to go into a pharmaceutical. we didn't get it because the factory that produces this has been affected by covid-19. and it's not the first time that this has happened. in 2016, we saw a shortage of an important antibiotic when the sole source of its production, the only place on the globe that produced this antibiotic was in china and that factory was shut down, couldn't get it. our vulnerability is not limited to one drug or even just a handful of drugs. in 2007 and 2008, 246 people
died after taking a contaminated blood thinner that came directly from a factory in china. they died, 246 people, just like that. routine inspections didn't catch the contaminant and the drugs flowed right into our medicine cabinets. 2010, regulators also found serious problems with batches of thyroid medication, muscle relaxers, antibiotics, and this week i got an e-mail from a tennessean. he said i saw what you said on the floor, and i want to let you know i take a heart medication, and it was just recalled because it contained a carcinogen and it was made in china. think about this.
these are the pharmaceuticals we take to return ourselves to health and wellness, to manage chronic conditions. and here we have example after example of things that are contaminated, are not what they are intended to be. these are basic, common medications n. 2018 the f.d.a. recalled several blood pressure medications made in china that were contaminated with cancer-causing toxins. now, i would imagine there are a few people that come to work every day in this building that take a blood pressure medication. what if you had been taking one
for a period of time, and it contained the cancer-causing toxins? americans deserve better than this from their pharmaceutical supply chain. if we allow this to continue, we are going to do so at our own peril. i encourage my colleagues to support the bipartisan securing america's medicine cabinet act. senator menendez has worked on this legislation with me, and i'm grateful to him for his support. mr. president, you are working on legislation that would address some of these issues. bring this pharmaceutical manufacturing back into the united states of america. we need to end chinese control over our health and wellness in
this pharmaceutical supply chain. this may seem like something that is too large or too risky an undertaking but we have already paid dearly for our reliance on chinese drug manufacturers, and it's not going to stop because that vulnerability is leverage in the hands of madmen in beijing who seek nothing but power and will go to any lengths to acquire that power. they don't care who they hurt. it's clear with this global pandemic. they don't care if it is innocent people that are sick or maybe even that lose their life and they defy us, they defy us when we try to stop them. it's time that we rise to the challenge and that we return this supply chain.
ive yield the floor and note the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call: a senator: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from indiana. a senator: are we in a quorum call? the presiding officer: yes. mr. braun: could we lift the quorum call? the presiding officer: without objection.
mr. braun: mr. president, i've been here a little over a year. i keep mentioning that often because what a year it's been. in that stretch, there's not been a period of time where i think there's been so much urgency for us as a senate, for the other chamber to do their job to deliver for the american people. we're in the midst of a crisis that in building a business over 37, 38 years, you've constantly got hurdles to jump. you never really know the clear outcome. you try to have a great strategy with good implementation, good tactics that would be your salvation through thick or thin. when it comes to the coronavirus, it's not like we haven't had other recent issues but nothing quite like this to where it started in another country. it's gone across the world. and it now looks like that
vector into our country, we may be dealing with it on a broader scale. i'm a guy that believes in free enterprise. i don't like it when government has to step in. but i don't know what we would have done otherwise in this case. until we tamp the disease down, until we get that curve flattened, no one is going to be at ease. we've invested three, four weeks of actual guidelines. we knew it was coming way before that. i am hopeful that we've been doing a lot of the right things, even before we were required to do that. so we can't relent on that course. on the other hand, never in my wildest dreams would have imagined an economy could be affected like it has. stores from my home -- get stories from my home state of
indiana all the time, not only from the places like hotels, restaurants, bars, airlines, i think our senior senator actually either went home or came out here, might have been the only person on the plane. that's a graphic example of how this is impacting commerce. the hotel owner i talked to, 2% occupancy in the week before. into we've come together this past weekend. we worked through it. i think that's been the first time i've been here that on a legislative matter we've done that. democrats and republicans at the grassroots level working to deliver what i think is a good package. it focuses on, number one, who needs it the most. work thears have been displaced -- workers that have been displaced and small business owners. it also has stuff in for the broader part of the economy. urgency is the key.
we're working through right now some short-term corrections, and i hope that doesn't thwart the process. we should have had this across the finish line sunday evening to where it could have been delivered on monday morning and we would still have the nation on high alert about what we're going to do here. and it can only come from here in this case. i'm going to segue into we need to get that done today and i'm going to be for it. each state, each senator, each representative is going to have to deliver to the small business owners, the individuals that have been displaced by this. and i've got a team back in indiana that has taken on just a big spectrum of case work, and i invite you when this legislation gets across the finish line to make sure you reach out to our
office. many of our cases regrettably have been along the lines of helping folks interface with the v.a. sadly, i wish there were fewer of them but we've had really good luck. we interfaced when a cruise ship had hoosiers stranded and were able to follow up on the process to make sure they came back. currently dealing with cases where you're stranded overseas. whatever it is, come to our senate office. we've got a great team and they have helped a lot of hoosiers out already. i want to end on a positive note. i think this has got the country down because everything you see is in the context of negativity. i like the fact that aspiratio aspirationally many are already talking about what we're going to do when we come out of it. and through prayers and through all the stuff americans, hoosiers have done, i think
we're going to see that curve start to flatten. i like the approach we've taken to put the emphasis on the disease because until those numbers go down, no one is going to be at ease. so as we look to the future, monday was the first threshold, 15 days. we need to reassess, take all the information we've gained and gathered, and make the right decisions going forward. i trust our governors and our local governments across the country to do the same thing. and we will come out ahead. we are going to flatten the curve and make sure that we're taking care of the most important thing first. and i think that's going to be here hopefully sooner rather than later. and then we also need to be aspirational about what is really going to get this country back to business as usual and that's when we can have main
street going back to the way it was a month or two ago when we can recapture the best economy that we probably ever had in history. and i know hoosiers will do their job. they will be aspirational and americans across the country will do the same. i yield the floor. i notice the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call:
a senator: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from georgia. a senator: i would ask that the quorum call be vitiated, please. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. perdue: mr. president, we're on the cusp of a historic bill today, bipartisan bill that we took a different approach thanks to our republican leadership where we put the leaders of each of the committees, both democrat and republicans, to focus on their portion of the needs behind this covid-19 crisis. before i get into my remarks today, though, i want to remind the colleagues here today that we have sponsored a resolution recognizing and thanking all the people in america who are stepping up and as others have said, put their own health and their families' health at risk to make sure that their neighbors and friends and patients and business partners are taken care of. i'm talking about supply chain
people, health care workers, transportation workers. all the people in the country, ag industry, all the people in the country who are keeping the essential needs of our population going. while restaurants are closed, they have takeout service, even here in washington, d.c. that is not an easy thing to do for those folks. it's a -- they're losing money on it. i wanted to make sure we recognize in the midst of this crisis how americans are responding. americans always respond to crisis in a better way than anybody else in the history of the world, in my opinion. sometimes we're not always the quickest to recognize that we're in a crisis, but right now we are responding to this one right here before us. as a matter of fact, mr. president, i believe we have two crises today. one is obviously the medical crisis, the health care crisis that we now are characterizing at covid-19 virus. we now how it only natured. we now know what other countries
are learning that who are ahead of us in the cycle. but because of that we have a connecting economic crisis that we're trying to deal with in this piece of legislation today. i hope we can get this done tonight. i don't see any reason why we can't. we have a deal. there are some questions here in the last hour, but i think we'll get those done and hopefully get this voted on tonight. as we deal with these two crises, mr. president, it's my suggestion that we look at this -- how readdress dealing with this crisis in three faces. right now we're in the middle of the first phase and i would characterize it as mobilization where we've identifying the severity of the disease. we're identifying who is the most vulnerable. we're identifying what we need to deal with it and mobilizing behind that. we see a dramatic increase in the number of tests thanks to vice president pence. we still have shortages of testing kits and swabs and reagents and even testing machines but we have things like in my state where one of our major hospitals, emory university hospital has their own testing. they can do it in a matter of
hours versus days and they're making that available to other hospitals in the state. this is all hands on deck. and they'll probably lose money doing that, mr. president. but they're willing to do that. we have an apparel company in georgia who has shut down their business in apparel. they have good orders, profitable orders. they are putting those aside to make masks to try to help fill the need with the shortages. but the mobilization phase is where we are today. we're identifying it based on the experiences of other countries what we might expect here. we have hot spots in our country, just like other countries have had. we saw what happened in wuhan and hubei province in china. i have been there. it's a very old population. they were late getting to the identification and treatment and isolation. we see the repercussions from that. they are ahead of us in the cycle. however they dealt with that in the early days. we see now how they have dealt with that crisis and what's happening to the numbers and we can learn from that. i will talk about that in a
second. the second phase, though, is transition. i'm not sure we're in it yet, but we're about to go into it partly because of this package, and that is to make sure that we protect the parts of the economy where we can so that when we do start to come out of this, just like every other country ahead of us in the cycle has done and is doing right now that will have our businesses in a position to reconnect with the employers or employees that they have worked so hard to develop. and of course the third phase is full-on recovery. that is to do the things then to get the economy back on its strong the fooing, to make sure that we address the shortages of what we found in our current preparation. for example, we didn't have a strategic stockpile of some of these essential medical essentials that we needed in the identification, testing, and treatment of this particular virus. that recovery will take some time, but at the same time, the way america always responds to this is that i believe we can respond very quickly if we get the transition phase correct.
and that's what i want to talk about today. as we look at the medical crisis, though, we understand now, through a lot of data outside of the u.s. -- and i will caveat this that each country's experience is just a little bit different. i would also comment that there is a lot of noise in the data that i see around the world right now. the medical community is doing a great job of trying to aggregate this data to see how it applies to our needs here at home. i give our doctors and nurses and caregivers the highest thank you i can for what they're doing here and all over the world, for that matter, but what the experience is in italy might not be the same as it is here. the experience in south korea might not be the same as it is here. so we have to look at those and be very careful that we don't try to extrapolate either the severity or the lack of severity as being applicable here. this particular -- what we do know, though, before i get to the bill is that in the world health organization just this week has published an update to their numbers. they are characterizing this
disease this way. look, every country has a little bit different infection rate, a little different mortality rate. i believe the united states because we haven't tested as broadly as some of the other countries like south korea have done, we don't know what the denominator is. we don't know the mortality rate or the infection rate for that matter. this is what the world health organization is doing, just to put this in perspective, that about 80% of the people infected with this covid-19 virus will probably have a mild -- that's the way they characterize it -- a mild experience with this disease. 15% will be serious enough to go to a hospital particularly. and then of that, 5% will be critical patients. typically generally toward the most vulnerable patients -- elderly, people with respiratory existing diseases and potentially immune deficiencies. as we deal with that medical crisis -- and we have poured a lot of resources toward that in the first two phases of help in addition to what the president
did with his $50 billion allocation earlier. this bill, almost $2 trillion of aid as we see it toward businesses and communities in states to make sure that we can weather this storm. this bill -- let's be very clear about this. this is not about companies. this is about employees. this is about the people who work for employers, either in their own business or in somebody else's business. this is all about employees. it is merely a financial bridge to get through this period of time to get into that recovery phase that i'm trying to describe here a little earlier. it's about the employer-employee relationship and to make sure that we keep that relationship intact. look, in the last three years, we have created 7.5 million new jobs. prior to this new crisis, this coronavirus crisis, we had an economy that was just booming. created 7.5 million new jobs. we had 7.5 million job openings,
as a matter of fact, and only five million people looking for work. so we had a situation where we had the economy moving in the right direction, and then this hits. and we want to make sure we don't lose any of those jobs. and for that reason, we focused on the employer-employee relationship. yes, we plussed up unemployment benefits for the states so that they are not overwhelmed, but we made sure that the employer had the liquidity to keep these people employed. and in that vain, we -- vein, we did not want to have a liquidity crisis which we could very well have right now because of shutting these businesses down. we didn't want that liquidity crisis to turn into an insolvency crisis. we can deal with a liquidity issue. it's easy to come back and deal with companies that have gone insolvent and are now in bankruptcy proceedings. that is a very long and difficult process. it's difficult to come back from. we do not want to do that. that was the primary purpose of most of the facets of this bill. some $2 trillion. i will say this about that --
there are two major components to do that. one is a small business -- now, a little over 50% of the people who work in america work for companies that have 500 employees or fewer. that's a new learning for me. that's changed dramatically. but it is the engine -- this is not new news. this is the engine of new job growth. we know that, in the last three years. we have $350 billion directly targeted toward those small business -- small businesses. who can then by the way go to their existing local banker and get this facility done, a government-backed loan guarantee. in addition to that, there is $454 billion directed at other businesses, plus another $58 billion toward strategically important industries like our airline industry and so forth. and again, most of this money is in the form of loan guarantees to provide liquidity to keep the employee employed with their employer. it's no more difficult than that. but one other thing that is not being talked about, and i want
to highlight this, and that is $454 billion is historic. that's a lot of money. but it has the ability through the treasury that they can actually leverage that up in terms of the way the money goes out to banks, it can be levered up to $3 trillion or $4 trillion. what we are talking about is the potential of up to $5 trillion of liquidity into our economy. this is historic. it should be enough to shock the system to see, okay, there is going to be liquidity here. there may be some growing pains in the early days, but the liquidity is going to be there to weather this storm, to bridge this crisis. i want to look at what's next. talk about this transition phase and maybe even the recovery phase for a second. the first thing we have to do, we have to really learn from other countries. they are ahead of us in the cycle. for example, it took about six to eight weeks for china, even with their mistakes, it took about six to eight weeks to go from zero to their maximum number. but we know that the disease has a life cycle. somebody is infected with it, if
they survive, they come on the backside, and so far there is over 70,000 people that have had the disease in china and are healthy now. we know from anecdotal evidence on the ground that about 80% of the employed workers in china are beginning to go back to work, and almost 90% of factories. this is outside of hubei province, outside of wuhan province. they are going back to work. in south korea, the learning there is testing, testing, testing. more than that, they also track contacts. there are 350 million people in south korea. we have 330 million. but in certain cities and states, they can certainly look at doing that. so we have to learn from companies like south korea, japan, singapore, hong kong, australia, and even china because they are ahead of us in this cycle. we should be in the first few weeks of this cycle going from our -- from zero to whatever our maximum number is, but it's the number of active cases that's the most important. not the number of total cases. so the mortality rate is yet to
be determined because we don't really know the denominator, but i believe if we test more than that and the acceleration curve according to vice president pence is under way right now that we will have that ability to do. contact tracking is another. then isolation is another one we have to think about, unfortunately. we have hot spots. in the ebola crisis in africa, what we learned from the medical community was if they could put a full-court press on the areas of flaring where we had the disease flare up and isolate it where they didn't have people traveling outside of those areas. isolation by geography and democrat grabby are -- demography are called for. the third thing i will highlight briefly. i believe right now this shows we were behind in terms of our preparation for a pandemic like this. there is no question about it. in the country and the world. we can point fingers and blame, that's not my purpose today. what i want to talk about is this -- in america and if we can
bring the world's resources with data, this is the big thing. we have limited data in the united states. other countries have a lot of data. i believe if we aggregate that data and create a manhattan project type effort to go toward vaccines and treatments, that we can absolutely be ready for flu season next year if, in fact, this particular covid-19 virus has a isn't. we don't know -- has a seasonality. we don't know that yet. in conclusion, mr. president, there is no question that this is a moment of challenge in america. i will say this, that president trump, for all his detractors, early on stepped up and was a strong leader. i said this yeferl years ago. he reminded me of win section churchill, irascible but effective in getting results. that's what we have had early on. right now, we need a steady hand to make sure we don't kill the economy while we kill this disease. my only point is in this transition period -- and nobody has all the answers yet -- we need to start asking the questions of what can we do in
this transition period to find a balance between protecting life and protecting the economy long term so that when people get well, they will have a job to go back to and we will have an economy that can help the world prepare for the next pandemic that we are talking about here. the american people have the best spirit, i believe, in the history of the world when it comes to dealing with this crisis. i have talked about a couple of examples in my state. the airlines right now are another one. i know that delta is one of the primary airline carriers we have in the country. they are keeping some flights on. i know i have a reservation on a commercial flight later this week. i asked my assistant are you sure i will get a seat on that plane? she said there are only five people who have booked a seat on that plane. so it shows that people are trying to do their part here. neighbors. people going to grocery stores for their neighbors, taking care of picking up mail, doing anything they can to protect the people that are at risk. in small communities, we know how to do that. in major cities, it's more difficult, but it's even possible there.
i will conclude with this, mr. president. there is a day coming, it's not that far off, that we will be behind the top end of this curve in america. we will have lost some lives. that's unfortunate. we all regret that. but what we have to do now is to make sure we prepare ourselves for this transition phase that while we are coming and still dealing with people who are getting the disease, the disease is on the wane, and the economy needs to be brought back so we can make sure that we can prepare this country for the next round that we may or may not see in the future. with that, i yield the floor. mr. rubio: i received a call a few hours ago from someone i have known for a long time, a gentleman i would say in his early to mid 90's, and he wanted me to stop saying that what we are facing is an unprecedented challenge. i was taken aback. i mean, none of us have ever
lived through anything like this or confronted a situation as painful or so dramatic. and so he challenged me to do something that i had actually done a few years ago, but as it shows, even a few years erodes memory about things that happened long in the past. he challenged me to say, you know, everybody is comparing this to the last time we had something like this, it required the nation to react like we did in world war ii. and so it caused me to go back and look a little bit at the years before that great and bloody conflict. it's interesting, in the years leading up to 1941, president roosevelt had an effort to back the supreme court. it was incredibly controversial. it ended up falling apart in 1937. it ended up falling apart, actually, because members of his own party turned against him, and it actually weakened anymore
in -- him in that tail end of his second deal. president roosevelt was so upset about what members of his own party had done to him that in 1938, he did something unprecedented at the time. he got involved in democratic primaries and tried to defeat, take out members of his own party who had opposed him. not only did he lose badly in that effort -- i think he only won one of those seats that he went after -- as a result of what he did, his party lost six seats in the senate, 71 in the house, and ultimately in this very chamber, a republican, robert taft, was able to put together a coalition with conservative democrats and basically block president roosevelt's agenda leading into 1940. then in 1940, roosevelt did something else that was unprecedented and highly controversial. he announced, although it was legal, that he was running for a
third term. he was at that point defying a long precedent that had been set by the nation's first president. and then to make matters even more interesting, his own vice president who had turned on him on the court issue, he had to kick him off the ballot. in fact, he told him if you nominate him as vice president, i will refuse the nomination. ultimately he was reelected on a promise. he had to make a promise. i will keep this country out of war. this sets the stage going into november, december 1940. a president that spent the last three years battling his own party, seen his own agenda slowed and stifled and had to kick out his own vice president after losing a large number of seats in the house and senate, has a coalition formed against him to block him and then has to make a promise, we're not going to war.
all the while understanding that what was happening in europe would eventually reach us and he was preparing for war. and while he made that promise was pretty fundamental. going to war was not popular in this country. millions of americans, particularly those at the time you couldn't really travel abroad, had no connections to europe. they looked at world war i as a european war and world war ii as a war that had to do with europeans and not with them. prominent voices, chief among them, charles lindbergh who traveled the country blasting the president as a warmonger in the strongest possible terms. there was actually a student antiwar movement. now, not as many people went to college at that time as did in the 1960's, but it was really a precursor to that movement. why? because these people in college were the ones that would be sent
to war if there was one and they wanted no part of it. and then in the blink of an eye at 7:48 a.m. on december 7, 194 1-rbgs the japanese attacked -- 1941, the japanese attacked the u.s. naval base pearl harbor, sunk four of our battleships, we lost almost 200 airplanes and 23 americans perished. it remained the third bloodiest day of that very bloody conflict. america was not ready for war. they had started a draft by a one-vote margin. they were able to vote it into place. they had -- we had lost a significant percentage of our pacific fleet and, frankly, to this day there are legitimate questions not about whether the roosevelt administration knew in advance that this was happening and allowed the attack to
happen. this is a conspiracy theory. this was a massive intelligence failure. up to 30 minutes before the attack, the ambassador to japan was negotiating with the united states over an oil embargo and america was not a society of peace. this was a nation deeply divided, a segregated nation that discriminated against citizens of color. there were very serious labor disputes going on throughout the country. many still war the scars of a deep and painful economic depression. and, yet, in the blink of an eye this nation was confronted with an enemy and had no choice but to put aside all that had happened to that point, everything, all the problems they had with the president, all the problems they had with each other, even those americans that had been discriminated against were willing to do that, tremendous testament to the contribution they made to the ef
frt to win that -- effort to win that conflict. and in the blink of an eye literally every aspect of american life was changed overnight. think about it. one minute you are a student demanding that we stay out of war and the next you are volunteering for service. one minute you're a housewife, you're a retiree, the next minute you're back at work or at work for the first time in your life at a factory making miew miew -- munitions needed for the war effort. children were put to work on farms because so many people left farming to fill the industrial jobs because the men that would have otherwise filled those jobs were now wearing a uniform and dying by the hundreds every day, and then by the thousands, all over the
world. we rationed food. there was food rationing. you could only eat so much. a family only got so much. gasoline was rationed. i think it was three gallons a week, if i'm not mistaken, clothes were rationed. the government stepped in and said you can't build kitchen appliances, no refrigerators, no ovens, no vacuum cleaners, we need all of our industrial capacity to fight and win a war. people on the coast, and you see pictures of this to this day off miami beach, people who to close their shades because there were german u-boats off our coast. people were asked to make tremendous sacrifices, not for three months, not for six weeks, but over three years and longer. and sacrifices ultimately, perhaps the greatest of all,
they sent their sons and fathers off to die. -- die in the defense of this country and in our freedoms. i do not mean to diminish the challenges that are being asked of us now. there isn't five minutes that goes by that i don't get a text, a call, or an e-mail from a small business who just two weeks ago was having its with best year -- its best year ever, talking about hiring new people, and now they are bankruptcy, they are done, they are finished, and they may never reopen again. from a young couple i talked about earlier today in a video i made, two weeks ago, recently married, planning to start a family, both had good careers, the next minute, both out of a job, not sure if the place they worked in will ever exist again, not knowing where to go. one minute you're the father and a family -- in a family, a mother in a family who has never
had a day in your life where you were not employed by someone. and next you're being told, go to a website, call this number, you need to get unemployment. they don't know how to do it. they've never done it. so i do not mean to diminish the sacrifice that's our people are already making. i simply mean to put it in perspective and also to give a little bit of clarity as to what will be required of us to when this war -- to win this war. because in this end our enemy is not a nation state. it doesn't ware a unit -- wear a uniform. but it has invaded us in a way where we have not been asked to do or anything close to it since late 1941. so what are the lessons to be taken by that era in our history, by the call i got today
that said stop saying it is unprecedented? the lesson to take is, number one, in moments like this action matters. it is important that we have a functioning government in a can address problems in the space in which government must act. that is what is being asked of us here today. what is being asked of us is not to pass a perfect bill or pass legislation that will cure the virus or pass the law that will have everything that we ever wanted. what is being asked of us is can you function as a government? can you do the most basic things that a society needs from its elected leaders at a moment of true crisis? can you do that? and so far for three days the answer, sadly, has been no. i hope the answer at the end of this day will be different. but the second thing it teaches us is, you cannot confront a challenge such as this with just government. that war was not just won because of political leaders or our armed forces, it was a whole
of society effort. every day americans -- every day americans were asked to do things they had never done before in places they had never been not just to make sacrifices of what they could do but sacrifices they could do affirmatively. that is being asked of us now. people are doing that as we speak. the examples are too long to mention, but all over this country there are people that are doing extraordinary things, stepping up, doing more than they've ever done because they have to. they know they must. i have no doubt that if our government leaders do their job and are willing to do their part and provide people transparent, clear, truthful guidelines about what we face and what lies ahead and what is expected of them, they may not be happy and people may not be excited about it, but they will do it. i know they will do it.
they are already doing it. the third lesson is the awesome power of our country when a diverse population of go geters, -- go getters, the most creative people who have ever walked the earth put aside their differences to confront a threat they face in common. and, again, that is not possible. you can't ask of that of a society. you can't ask people to put aside their differences, put aside the trivial, put aside the things they don't agree on and focus on the one thing that threatens us all, you can't ask them to do that if you can't do it yourself. it appears, at least as of this moment, that it may change. what is our job in this? let me say, we are asking. when i see we, those in government at every level, are
asking our people to do some very difficult things. we're asking high school seniors, including one who lives in my home to be the first in i don't know how many generations that won't have a prom, won't have a senior trip, won't have a graduation. now i know all those things may seem trivial in comparison to world war ii, but to a 17-year-old these are a rite of passage and many high school seniors in this country will not get that this year. we're going to ask small businesses and asked them already, you need to close your doors. you can't open, you can't work, you can't make money, you can't allow customers to come in. we've asked people not to go to work. in fact, we told them not to leave their homes. over half of this country is on an order, don't leave your house unless you are going to the
pharmacy or grocery store. we're asking nurses and doctors that can kill them and their families just like everybody else to do so on double shifts, oftentimes without the gear and equipment to protect them. we're asking truck drivers to drive all night, also vulnerable to the virus, also worried about all the things all of us are worried about, drive all night because tomorrow those shelves need to be stocked with all the things that people are buying because they are afraid it's going to run out. and how can we ask that of our society? if for three and a half days we can't even vote on a law. we can't even walk to the front of this place and lift your -- our finger up or up or down and say yes or no.
we can't even do that. spending our taxpayer money in a moment of critical crisis. i don't mean to be negative because frankly i hope today is the day we get toll solve, but there are other people who have to make their way in here in the house, outside commentators, people still e-mailing and texting, can we change this, can we change that? i just don't know how we can ask people to do all these things we need to ask them to do and in return tell them, by the way, we're going to take our sweet time to do our part and our part's the easiest one. and you can just imagine, extrapolate what we're facing now and take it back to 1941. imagine if back then people would have been saying, boy, in is a great chance. this is a good opportunity to get back at f.d.r. this is a great opportunity now he's in a war, let's roll back the new deal, let's really stick it to him for what he really did
six years ago for that court thing. or the reverse, this is a good opportunity to use the war powers to steamroll my political opponents and put them in place. or imagine him saying, we need to build a lot 0 of ships -- a lot of ships but i'm not going to vote to bill them unless they are in my state. i don't want to go any deeper into that because i don't mean to say some of the issues that people raised around here are not legitimate issues, they are. but sometimes the legitimacy of the issue, the importance of the issue has to be weighed on a scale against the gravity of the moment. i would say to you if we were dealing with permanent policy in a normal course of business or even in a moment of a cyclical economic downturn, we'd have some weeks to make some of these decisions. we've already taken too long. people got laid off today. people will be laid off tonight and tomorrow and the day after and for days to come even if we
pass this bill. imagine if we don't. what we are facing is the toughest thing this generation has before faced. there's no doubt about it. and perhaps with the exception of the gentleman and people like -- the gentleman that called me this morning, would be the toughest thing we ever face in our lives. world war ii was worse. this virus is terrible. but it will not last as long or kill as many people as that war did, but it will kill far too many people and last far too long. but it will last longer and kill more if we don't take action now. and that requires everyone to finally wake up and realize this is not -- this virus doesn't care who you voted for in the last election. it doesn't care what you write on twitter or snarky remarks you come up with in your commentator moment on cable news. it doesn't care about any of that stuff.
it doesn't care who you plan to vote for in the next election. it will infect you. it will kill you. it will kill people you love. it will kill members of your family. it will disrupt your community and your economy. it doesn't care about any of this other stuff. and it really is important for us to realize not just for this bill but moving forward that there's no such thing as an outcome here that's good for half of us and bad for the other half. there is no possible political victory here, none. there is no outcome here in which half of us are going to be able to go back and say boy, we really looked good and made those guys look bad and people are going to reward us for it. they're not. i promise you that when someone has lost their job and doesn't know where they're going to go and are stuck in their home and their lives have been turned upside down and a mechanic of their family is in intensive care and they wind up in a hospital that's overwhelmed and can't care for them, the last thing on their mind is going to
be partisan politics or preexisting differences. if you don't believe it, we're about to find that out, unfrm. there is no outcome here in which half of us is happy and the other half are upset. it's a cliche. we use it all the time. i can't think of a better example than this one. we are truly all in this together. the carnage, the damage that this will do to our country is extraordinary. it will know no geographic bounds, no political affiliation, no demographic differences. this is a virus that can infect the heir to the crown in britain just as easily as a 92-year-old retiree in a florida nursing home. and so i hope that the gravity of the moment finally sinks in and that we take the necessary
actions quickly and that if there's something in this bill that you just really don't like, i don't mean to diminish it. if we can fix it, we should. but at this point i'm going to tell you that there's nothing wrong in this bill, there's nothing in this bill that will damage our country more than our inability to act. no matter how bad some provision in this bill you think may be, and i say this to both sides, there's nothing in this bill that will damage us more than doing nothing will. by far. the most damaging thing that can happen is not any provision of this legislation. it is our inability to act and to send a message to the american people that their leaders can't function, that their government doesn't work, not just on a day-to-day basis but in a moment of crisis. and so i hope that that --
whatever differences that may still exist at this moment and i'm trying to be fair because i know a lot of people are finally seeing the full text of it in just the last few hours, and if you've caught something that can be fixed, it should be fixed. but i plead. i don't know what other word to use. that we don't leave here tonight without having passed this bill. because i honestly don't know how this nation and our people can afford one more day of this. mr. president, i yield the floor and suggest the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. the presiding officer: quorum call: